Follow the Money: Foresite Capital Invests in Groundbreaking Tech, Synthesizing Therapeutic Cytokines, More

June 27, 2024

By Bio-IT World Staff 

June 27, 2024 | Foresite Capital launches new fund for groundbreaking technologies, ranging from novel therapeutics to companies at the intersection of technology and biotechnology; Bright Peak Therapeutics intends to advance platform that allows for the conjugation of its enhanced cytokines as payloads to certain antibodies, creating novel and proprietary “Bright Peak Immunocytokines”; more. 


$900M: Fund for Novel Therapeutics, Biotech  

Foresite Capital has closed its sixth fund with $900 million in capital commitments. With this new fund, Foresite Capital continues to invest in groundbreaking technologies, ranging from novel therapeutics to companies at the intersection of technology and biotechnology. Fund VI is investing in innovative, growth-oriented companies in three main areas: precision therapeutics, life science infrastructure, and healthcare delivery, including Alumis, CG Oncology, Latigo, RayThera, and Xaira Therapeutics. Limited partners of Fund VI include a broad range of investors, among them university endowments, charitable foundations, medical institutions, pension funds, insurance companies, private banks, and family offices worldwide.

$190M: Series A/B for Cholesterol-Lowering Monoclonal Antibody 

Marea Therapeutics has launched with $190 million in combined Series A and B financings. The Series A round was led by Third Rock Ventures and the Series B round was led by Sofinnova Investments and co-led by Forbion, Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund and venBio, with the participation of Alpha Wave Global, Omega Funds, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company) and founding investor Third Rock Ventures. This financing will fund the company’s MAR001 Phase 2 development plan and further progression of additional pipeline programs. MAR001 is a monoclonal antibody that targets ANGPTL4, a protein that is highly expressed in adipose tissue. By inhibiting ANGPTL4 and thereby preferentially augmenting adipose tissue lipoprotein lipase activity, MAR001 aims to lower remnant cholesterol, improve adipose tissue and metabolic function, and reduce cardiovascular events.

$168M: Series A/B for Autoimmune, Inflammatory Diseases 

Santa Ana Bio emerged from stealth with $168 million in combined Series A and B funding. Founding investor Versant Ventures led the Series A round and was joined by TPG’s Life Science Innovations fund and GV. The $125 million Series B round was led by GV, with participation from all existing investors as well as new investors Access Biotechnology, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) Bio + Health and RTW. Santa Ana employs proteomic, transcriptomic, and genomic approaches to precisely characterize disease-specific subpopulations and identify targets only on disease-causing cell types leaving healthy cells unaffected. This approach addresses the shortcomings of current biological treatments, including patient heterogeneity, durability of response, and safety.

$107M: Series B for Synthesizing Therapeutic Cytokines 

Bright Peak Therapeutics has raised $107 million in a Series B financing. The round was led by RA Capital, with participation by founding investor Versant Ventures and new investors Fidelity Management & Research Company, Invus, Qatar Investment Authority, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Alexandria Venture Investments, and an undisclosed leading healthcare investment fund. Bright Peak uses a novel technology to chemically synthesize therapeutic cytokines by ligating together customized peptide segments. This proprietary technology provides unique flexibility to both tune and enhance cytokine biology through affinity modification and orthogonal, site-specific conjugation. The company’s platform also allows for the conjugation of its enhanced cytokines as payloads to certain antibodies, creating novel and proprietary “Bright Peak Immunocytokines.”

$100M: Series E for Alzheimer’s Phase 3 Program 

Alzheon has raised $100 million in Series E financing, led by Alerce Medical Technology Partners. Alzheon previously raised $50 million through a Series D financing round in 2022. ALZ-801 (valiltramiprosate) is a first-in-class, investigational oral disease-modifying therapy in Phase 3 development for the treatment of early Alzheimer’s disease. In mechanism-of-action studies, ALZ-801 fully blocked the formation of neurotoxic soluble beta amyloid oligomers at the Phase 3 clinical dose. This latest fundraising will ensure that Alzheon will have sufficient capital to complete their pivotal Phase 3 program and prepare commercialization of oral ALZ-801/valiltramiprosate with runway into 2026.

$100M: Series A for Neuromodulation Therapy for Urinary Incontinence 

Amber Therapeutics has successfully closed its Series A financing raising a total of $100 million (£80 million) from leading healthcare and technology investors in the US and UK. The financing is one of the largest Series A rounds ever in Europe for a medical technology company and was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) as part of a syndicate of new investors F-Prime Capital, Lightstone Ventures, and Intuitive Ventures, alongside existing investors Oxford Science Enterprises (OSE) and 8VC. Amber-UI is the first fully implantable adaptive neuromodulation therapy in clinical development for women with mixed urinary incontinence (MUI), targeting the pudendal nerve through a novel, minimally invasive surgical procedure. The proceeds of the financing will be used to fund the development of Amber-UI through pilot and pivotal studies towards regulatory approval in the US.

$85.8M: Series B for Uveal Melanoma  

iOnctura has closed an $85.8 million (approx. €80 million) Series B financing. The funding round was led by new investor Syncona Limited with participation by the EIC Fund, the venture arm of the European Innovation Council (EIC), as well as existing investors M Ventures, Inkef Capital, VI Partners, Schroders Capital and 3B Future Health Fund. iOnctura is developing a portfolio of precision oral small molecules that target cancers in novel ways. The financing will be used to accelerate development of roginolisib for the treatment of uveal melanoma (UM), a rare cancer of the eye with few available treatments.

$81M: Series B for Invasive Fungal Infections 

Elion Therapeutics (formerly Sfunga Therapeutics) has closed a $81 million Series B funding round led by Deerfield and the AMR Action Fund. Additional investors include Illinois Ventures. Elion's clinical-stage candidate, SF001, a next-generation polyene antifungal, completed a first-in-human single-ascending dose study and is now being evaluated in a multiple-ascending dose study. The active molecule is a novel analog of the antifungal amphotericin B (AmB), rationally designed to mitigate systemic toxicities. In 2023, SF001 received Qualified Infectious Disease Product (QIDP) and Fast Track designations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for early antifungal therapy of presumed invasive fungal disease and treatment of invasive aspergillosis.

$71M: Series A for Computational Drug Design 

Vilya has announced an expanded $71 million Series A financing. Founder and lead investor ARCH Venture Partners is joined by leading life science and technology funds, including NVIDIA’s venture capital arm NVentures, Menlo Ventures, Madrona, Lifeforce Capital, and Altitude Life Science Ventures. The funding will accelerate advancement of Vilya's proprietary computational drug design and development platform and its pipeline of novel macrocycles that precisely target disease biology. Vilya's foundational technology leverages advanced computational approaches to design novel macrocycles with atomic-level accuracy and enhanced drug-like properties.

$26M: Series A for Functional Biology Platform 

Moleculent AB has closed its oversubscribed $26 million Series A financing. The round was led by ARCH Venture Partners (ARCH) and co-led by Eir Ventures with participation from the company’s existing investors. ARCH’s Patrick Weiss has been appointed Chairman. Sean Kendall from ARCH, together with Magnus Persson from Eir Ventures, have also joined the company’s Board of Directors. Moleculent’s functional biology platform detects cell-cell interactions and profiles their communication directly within their tissue environment. This novel approach allows scientists to see how healthy cells function and how diseased cells differ at a complex, networked level.

$13M: Series A for AI-Powered Vocal Biomarker Technology 

Canary Speech has secured a $13 million Series A funding round led by Cortes Capital, LLC (Love’s Private Equity), with participation from Sorenson Communications, LLC., SMK (Japan), and Hackensack Meridian Health. Canary aims to expand its team to support the accelerating growth driven by advancements in artificial intelligence and the healthcare industry's demand for more advanced tools. Through an extensive network of partnerships, both with telehealth organizations and health systems, Canary is poised to rapidly scale its cloud-based data processing capabilities.

$2M: Seed Funding for Point-of-Need Pathogen Diagnostics 

Fuse Diagnostics has completed an oversubscribed seed investment round, raising a total of $2 million (approx. £1.6 million) from a syndicate of angel investors and innovation agency Innovate UK. The funding is intended to boost the company’s development of a revolutionary new generation of diagnostic testing products designed to deliver the performance of laboratory-based instruments in rapid, low-cost, point-of-need tests. The products will address testing needs in the industrial, food, and water sectors—where eliminating pathogen contamination is crucial—as well as providing accurate point-of-need testing for clinical diagnostics and veterinary applications.

$1.4M: Grants for eProtein Discovery System 

Nuclera has been awarded two highly competitive Innovate UK grants totaling $1.4 million (approx. £1.14 million). The funding was made up of a $1 million (approx. £790,000) flexible, agile, scalable, and sustainable technologies (FASST) grant awarded in collaboration with DeepMirror and a $445,000 (approx. £350,000) Engineering Biology grant. These funds will be used to further develop Nuclera’s eProtein Discovery system, including evaluations by Dr. Konstantinos Beis, an independent expert from Imperial College London, and Dr. Andrew Quigley from Diamond Light Source. Nuclera is one of 48 companies to be awarded the Engineering Biology grant, which aims to use engineering biology to tackle challenges in the fields of health, environment, food production, and sustainability. The funding was provided by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Technology Missions Fund and delivered by Innovate UK.