Follow the Money: Quantum Computer-Based AI for Drug Discovery, Insilico Medicine’s Multidisciplinary Drug Discovery Platform, More

November 29, 2022

November 29, 2022 | Funding for first-in-class peptide-drug conjugate for tumor cells, gene delivery research and development, next-generation orthopedic products, and more. 

$120M: Series E Funding for Clinical-Stage Urologic Oncology Pipeline 

CG Oncology announced the closing of an oversubscribed $120 million Series E financing round. The proceeds from the funding will be used to advance the company’s lead clinical programs in bladder cancer towards U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval and broaden the scope of its pipeline to address unmet medical needs in urologic cancer, such as the first line setting in Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)-naïve, intermediate-risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) patients. In addition, CG Oncology collaborates with Merck to evaluate the combination of its intravesically delivered oncolytic immunotherapy agent with pembrolizumab in a Phase 2 study. CG Oncology has decided to investigate the activity of this agent as a first-line treatment of BCG-naïve, intermediate-risk NMIBC in a Phase 2 study to expand clinical development for additional patients with bladder cancer. 

$85M: Funding for Category-Defining Biomedical Technology Companies 

Catalio Capital Management announced the successful closing of its inaugural special situations fund, Catalio Credit Opportunities Fund I, with over $85 million in commitments from new and existing global institutional investors. Catalio seeks to provide the next generation of breakthrough biomedical technology companies with bespoke debt and structured equity solutions tailored to their unique financing needs through this new vehicle. The fund will equip founders and companies with the flexibility and runway required to achieve their next critical milestones—at a lower cost of capital than traditional equity—while generating strong risk-adjusted returns for investors through a combination of contractual cashflows, current income, and down-side protected forms of equity participation. 

$60M: Funding for Peptide-Drug Conjugate Proprietary Technology 

Exelixis and Cybrexa Therapeutics entered an exclusive collaboration agreement providing Exelixis the right to acquire CBX-12 (alphalex exatecan), a clinical-stage, first-in-class peptide-drug conjugate that utilizes Cybrexa’s proprietary alphalex technology to enhance the delivery of exatecan to tumor cells. Under the terms of the agreement, Exelixis will pay Cybrexa an upfront fee of $60 million in exchange for the right to acquire CBX-12, pending specific Phase 1 results. CBX-12 is designed to increase the efficacy and reduce the toxicity of topoisomerase I inhibition by delivering exatecan—a highly potent, second-generation topoisomerase I inhibitor—directly to the tumor cells. This collaboration underscores Exelixis’ commitment to expanding its clinical pipeline, building upon its biotherapeutics and targeted drug therapy expertise. 

$57M: Funding for Gene Delivery Research and Development 

VectorBuilder recently announced the completion of $57 million in funding to support the construction of VectorBuilder’s new Gene Delivery Research and Manufacturing Campus and further boost the company’s research and development capabilities and global business presence. VectorBuilder was established in 2014 to commercialize its novel e-commerce platform, enabling researchers to design and order custom vectors online. VectorBuilder’s contract development and manufacturing organization products have entered investigational new drug status in many countries and received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory authorities. 

$56M: Series A Funding for Post-Op Cancer Detection Technology 

Haystack Oncology announced that it raised $56 million in Series A financing. The funding will be used for the continued development and planned 2023 commercialization of its best-in-class personalized cancer diagnostic test that can detect as few as one mutant molecule in a million DNA molecules, positioning it as the most sensitive ctDNA-based minimal residual disease (MRD) test for use in solid tumors. The company plans to use the proceeds to expand accessibility to its groundbreaking ctDNA-based MRD testing platform, Haystack Duo, a low-error rate, next-generation chemistry that enables ultrasensitive and personalized MRD testing. Haystack's tumor-informed liquid-biopsy-based test begins with tissue-based whole-exome sequencing to identify patient-specific tumor mutations. A personalized MRD test is then developed to detect ctDNA from residual, recurrent, or resistant disease. 

$41.5M: Series B Funding for Next-Generation Orthopedic Products 

Novadip Biosciences raised an additional €40M in a Series B round, comprised of €24M in new equity and €16M in non-dilutive financing. The funding will accelerate the clinical development of Novadip’s VD-X3, an allogeneic therapeutic that can provide accelerated, durable bone union in spinal fusion procedures and non-healing fractures, and NVD-003, an autologous bone engraftment product designed to provide a single treatment cure for patients with critical-size bone defects such as congenital pseudoarthrosis of the tibia. The funding will also support Novadip’s 3M³ platform. This 3-dimensional, extracellular matrix utilizes adipose-derived stem cells to deliver highly specific growth factors and miRNAs to mimic the physiology of natural tissue healing. 

$22.19M: Series A Funding for Multi-Cloud Data Analysis Pipelines 

Seqera Labs announced it had raised €22M in Series A funding. The company is dedicated to empowering scientists to assemble and deploy massively scalable data analysis pipelines in multi-cloud environments with minimal friction. With this investment, Seqera aims to move beyond scientific workflows to encompass tool development, data management, reporting, infrastructure deployment, and interactive computing. The additional funding will help Seqera Labs bolster its team and expand its product portfolio to cover the entire data analysis lifecycle. 

$21.5M: Funding for Drug Development AI Platform 

Insilico Medicine announced a multi-year, multi-target strategic research collaboration with Sanofi. Under the terms of the agreement, the partnership will leverage Insilico Medicine’s AI platform, Pharma.AI, to advance drug development candidates for up to six new targets. Under the agreement terms, Sanofi will pay Insilico Medicine up to $21.5 million, covering the upfront and target nomination fees. Sanofi will also gain access to a team of interdisciplinary drug discovery scientists to identify, synthesize, and advance high-quality lead therapeutic compounds up to the development candidate stage. Additional payments will be made if key research, development, and sales milestones are met and could total up to $1.2 billion. The collaboration also establishes mid-single to up to low double-digit tiered royalties for any products developed. 

$21.1M: Funding for Personalized Precision Medicine 

BC Platforms (BCP) announced it closed a CHF 20M financing round to help accelerate the company’s data footprint expansion and consolidate its position as the leading European data provider and enabler of personalized precision medicine. BCP’s services boost the speed of drug development, specifically around providing high-value healthcare data that accelerates the industry’s research innovation, providing impactful research and development insights to bring more effective drugs to market more quickly, enabling affordable treatment developments for rare diseases. A significant part of this core expertise includes BCP’s “Trusted Collaboration Environment,” a collaboration-optimized environment created to ensure that healthcare organizations can share data with researchers globally while adhering to their local regulatory and privacy requirements. 

$20M: First Close Scale-Up Funding Round for a New Data-Based Platform and Advancements in Microbiome Science 

Eagle Genomics announced the $20M first close of its scale-up funding round. The investment will support further development of the e[datascientist] platform, which enables enterprise customers to trace digital journeys in data, drive transformative innovations, exploit leading-edge scientific discovery in silico, and support differentiated product claims. Eagle Genomics also champions the concept of “One Health,” which recognizes that the health of humans, animals, and the environment are intimately interconnected and focuses on a deep understanding of microbiome3 and host-microbiome interactions as the common denominator across these domains. 

$16M: Funding for Novel Brain Cancer Research Platform 

The Victorian Government has committed $16M to support the brain perioperative (Brain-POP) clinical trial platform. The new platform is led by The Brain Cancer Centre and research partners Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, The Royal Children’s Hospital, and the University of Melbourne. Brain-POP is the first perioperative clinical trial program for brain cancer. Biopsies are taken before and after treatment, and newly diagnosed patients will receive advanced diagnostic testing. In addition, through collaborations with biotech and pharmaceutical partners, the Brain-POP platform will enable patients to receive innovative or advanced cancer treatment such as Gamma Knife radiosurgery, immunotherapies, or targeted therapy. 

$14M: Series B Funding for Enhanced AI-Facilitated Chemical Synthesis Efficiency 

Chemical.AI announced the completion of Series B rounding of nearly $14M (100M RMB) to drive the development of Chemical.AI’s ChemFamily products, including ChemAIRS, ChemAIOS, ChemAIoT, and ChemAILab, based on its proprietary retrosynthesis algorithm as a standard digitalized closed data loop to enhance chemical synthesis efficiency. Chemical.AI’s services facilitate chemists’ research work to be more efficient, more effective in cost/time management, and speed up the drug discovery process. Chemical.AI leverages artificial intelligence technology and big data to develop tools that can significantly improve the efficiency of research and development and is committed to building an intelligent synthesis management platform to deliver compounds to shape the future of chemistry.  

$5.4M: Seed Funding for Protein Machines and AI-Based Cell Factories 

Cradle announced it is exiting stealth and has raised €5.5M in seed funding. Cradle allows scientists to “reverse engineer” proteins with the desired specific properties and has built a working platform already used by several early-stage design partners. Cradle’s self-teaching, self-improving generative machine learning models can predict which parts of a protein’s genetic code a biologist will need to alter, significantly improving a scientist’s chances of getting the experimental results they want. Through this method, Cradle believes it can reduce the time and cost of getting a synthetic biology product to market by order of magnitude. The company will use its seed funding to accelerate product development, build out its offering, scale its world-class team, and support the onboarding of more design partners. Cradle’s operations include a “wet lab,” which allows the company to generate data to train their machine learning models. 

$5M: Series A Funding for Global Digital Therapeutics Clinical Research 

Curavit Clinical Research announced it raised $5 million in Series A funding to accelerate its growing portfolio of research in the global digital therapeutics market (projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 31.4% through 2026). The new funding will expand the company’s decentralized clinical trial capabilities, partnerships, and market adoption of Curavit’s virtual contract research organization services and platform for prescription and non-prescription digital therapeutics trials. Additionally, Curavit joined the Digital Therapeutics Alliance, aiming to broaden the understanding, adoption, and integration of clinically evaluated digital therapeutics with patients, clinicians, payors, and policymakers through education, advocacy, and cross-industry collaboration. 

$4.6M: Seed Funding for Accelerating AI Annotation Tool Development 

Health-tech AI platform RedBrick AI announced a US$4.6M seed funding round to accelerate the development and adoption of artificial intelligence in clinical settings through rapid data annotation on medical imagery. RedBrick AI’s tools address challenges unique to medical data annotation, such as the complexity of existing annotation tools, quality control, and machine learning integration. The platform's specialized annotation tools can be accessed through the browser and are designed to be used without prior training. RedBrick AI also offers semi-automated tools to annotate complex 3D medical images. Its application programming interface (API) also helps machine learning engineers integrate with their cloud and clinical data stores, for example, Amazon Web Services or hospital enterprise Picture Archiving and Communication System servers. The APIs are used to build machine learning data pipelines. 

$3.95M: Funding for Anti-Cancer Research Network 

The European Union provided the doctoral research network, Magicbullet::Reloaded, €4M to investigate another approach to treating cancerous tumors. The collaborative training network consists of nine universities, two research institutions, and four pharmaceutical companies based in Germany, Switzerland, the UK, Finland, Italy, and Hungary. Researchers attach a substance that can damage tumor tissue to a transporter peptide to develop these targeted, minimally invasive anti-cancer drugs. The transporter then binds to the tumor and delivers the substance to stimulate an immune response. This approach helps overcome the problem of developing resistance to the very immunotherapies meant to destroy cancerous cells. Magicbullet::Reloaded is funded as part of the European Union′s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement No. 861316). 

$3.6M: Grant for Spinal Cord Injury Research 

Researchers at The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research have been awarded a five-year, $3.6 million grant from the New York State Department of Health to study spinal cord stimulation and novel brain implant technology. Previous research shows that cervical stimulation applied at the base of the neck can lead to improved recovery after injury. The new study will analyze the combination of cervical stimulation and brain-computer interface (BCI) technology that involves the placement of multiple small “chips” (tiny micro-electrodes) in the brain. Through activity-based and BCI-assisted training sessions, individuals with a spinal cord injury will conduct tasks while receiving cervical stimulation. The goal is to observe the stimulation’s effect on the brain’s activity patterns and arm and hand movements to restore long-term control of the muscles. 

$2.5M: Grant for Kidney Precision Medicine Research Recruiting Site 

The National Institutes of Health awarded a 5-year, $2.5 million grant to the University of Minnesota to fund the Minnesota Precision Medicine Chronic Kidney Disease & Resilient Diabetes Recruiting Site: Engagement, Enrollment & Ethics known as Minn-Kidney Precision Medicine Project (Minn-KPMP). Minn-KPMP will be the recruitment site for a coalition of leading research teams using precision medicine to understand and find new ways to treat chronic kidney disease and acute kidney injury. The research team will collaborate with a community advisory board of local community members who will guide Minn-KPMP on inclusive recruitment and ethical issues, including research-directed kidney biopsies, return of results, genetic testing, and biobank governance. A national Ethics Advisory Board has also been recruited to collaborate across the KPMP consortium of sites to ensure ethical approaches to recruitment, consent, and return of results to participants. 

$1.2M: Funding for Quantum AI Drug Discovery 

A $1.2 million National Science Foundation grant will help a team of Penn State researchers study quantum computer-based artificial intelligence (AI) to see if quantum computers can bring drugs to patients faster and cheaper. AI models designed for quantum computers could be ideal for drug discovery, an area limited by current classical computing processing power. The researchers are particularly interested in leveraging quantum AI to design drug treatments that inhibit the Ras family of proteins, which would be important for cancer treatments and cures. The team plans to use quantum computers and quantum computer software tools from companies like IBM and Microsoft. 

$800K: Award for AI Mobile Application Development 

The University of Arkansas (U of A) received an $800,000 award from the National Science Foundation to support the development of Edge AI applications. Edge AI locates and analyzes data locally through a camera, smartphone, or wearable device. The more limited goal of the project is to build a smart, wearable device for people with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar levels and eliminate blood draws. The U of A team will develop a new application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), the main computational unit of the proposed wearable device. The ASIC can implement different AI algorithms within a short period for reduced time to market while maintaining a long battery life due to innovations in asynchronous circuit design and system integration. This research is expected to accelerate the development of Edge AI and increase the competitiveness of the United States in AI. 

$225K: Renewed Funding for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer 

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) has renewed its funding to Elisa Port, MD, and Hanna Irie, MD, Ph.D., to study new therapeutic approaches that target aggressive triple-negative breast cancer. The latest installment of $225,000 brings the total to almost $2 million over the past nine years. It will fund research into the immune microenvironment of triple-negative breast cancer to identify new strategies to enhance cancer-fighting immune responses for this aggressive breast cancer, which traditionally has few options for treatment. Founded in 1993, BCRF is the world's largest private funder of breast cancer research.