Investment North America

Looking to Overcome Limitations in Gene Therapy Space, PBM Capital Backed Startup Launches with $20 M in Series A

SalioGen Therapeutics, a Burlington-based biotech startup, announced on March 1st that it had closed its $20 million Series A financing round. The funds will support preclinical validation of mammal-derived enzyme saliogase in the making of in vivo gene therapies for diseases such as familial hypercholesterolemia and inherited macular degeneration and also help build their proprietary Exact DNA Integration Technology (EDIT) platform. “We are thrilled to introduce SalioGen and the EDIT genome engineering platform, backed by the confidence of investors with an excellent track record and enthusiasm for potential breakthrough technologies,” said Ray Tabibiazar, M.D., Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of SalioGen.  He further added, “We believe that SalioGen has identified an evolved approach to gene therapy that, grounded by the only mammal-derived genome engineering enzyme and unconstrained by the limits seen to date in the gene therapy space, should empower us to develop safe, lasting, and affordable non-viral gene therapies...
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Looking to Overcome Limitations in Gene Therapy Space, PBM Capital Backed Startup Launches with $20 M in Series A
International M&A

Dublin-Based ICON to Acquire Rival CRO for a Whopping $12 Billion

On February 24th, ICON plc, a Dublin-based CRO, announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire PRA Health Sciences, Inc. Under the terms, the acquisition will be in both cash and stock transaction for a total of $12 billion. The cash portion of the deal will be partially funded through committed debt financing from Citi bank, the financial advisor for ICON in this deal. As compensation for PRA shareholders, each will receive $80 in cash and 0.4125 shares of ICON stock per share of PRA that they owned. This compensation structure represents an approximately 30% premium to PRA’s closing price ($127.73) as of February 23rd, 2021. As a result of this transaction, PRA shareholders will own approximately 34 percent of the shares of the combined company as opposed to the 66 percent held by original ICON shareholders.  Cahill Gordon & Reindel are serving as legal counsel to ICON....
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Dublin-Based ICON to Acquire Rival CRO for a Whopping $12 Billion
North America

Jaguar Launches with a Pre-clinical Pipeline of AAV9-Based Gene Therapies

After remaining in stealth mode in the past year, Jaguar Gene Therapy and its ciliopathy-focused subsidiary Axovia Therapeutics has launched itself with a Series A to develop adeno-associated virus serotype 9 (AAV9)-driven gene therapies. This new venture is led by Jaguar’s former AveXis and Deerfield management teams, both of which provide access to a total of 18 established, crucial academic institutions for future Jaguar pipeline programs, such as the pre-clinical pipeline of AAV9-based gene therapies to fight against severe genetic diseases. “Jaguar is uniquely positioned to accelerate breakthroughs in gene therapy for patients suffering from severe genetic diseases,” said Sean Nolan, Executive Chairman of Jaguar Gene Therapy. “We believe that the combination of our proven management team and gene therapy expertise coupled with the financial resources and access to academic institutions provided by Deerfield Management will facilitate our ability to identify critical clinical needs and address them by expediting the...
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Jaguar Launches with a Pre-clinical Pipeline of AAV9-Based Gene Therapies
Deals North America

Roivant Inks $450 Million Worth Drug Discovery Deal with Silicon Therapeutics

Roivant Sciences, a healthcare company focused on applying technology to drug developments, has struck a deal with Silicon Therapeutics that will help bring the latter under the VantAI drug discovery group. The deal worth $450 million in Roivant equity includes additional payments for future commercial and regulatory milestones.  "We are delighted to integrate Silicon Therapeutics into Roivant as we continue to expand our capabilities in computationally-powered drug discovery," said Matt Gline, Chief Executive Officer of Roivant Sciences. "We intend to leverage our established development apparatus as we rapidly advance promising compounds from our drug discovery engine into clinical studies." Silicon Therapeutics’ proprietary platform uses computational physics for the in-silico design and optimization of small molecule drugs. The platform helps amalgamate quantum mechanics, molecular dynamics and statistical thermodynamics to envisage binding energies and conformational behavior of molecules.  Roivant’s acquisition of Silicon Therapeutics will potentially complement their in-house protein degradation platform and...
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Roivant Inks $450 Million Worth Drug Discovery Deal with Silicon Therapeutics
Deals International

Sanofi Joins Hands with German Biotech to Develop Improved AAV Capsids for Gene Therapies

On February 23, Munich-based SIRION Biotech GmbH announced signing a license and collaboration agreement with Sanofi. The agreement intends to harness SIRION’s capabilities as a leader in viral vector-based gene delivery technologies and develop improved tissue-selective adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors for gene therapies.   SIRION’s Technology AAVs are the most predominant vectors used to deliver genetic information. However, they have relatively small transgenes as well as the potential for mutagenesis. At high multiplicity of infection, wild-type AAV integrates into human chromosome 19 in approximately 60% of latently infected cell lines. Though AAV is not known to cause disease in humans, insertional mutagenesis may be a concern. SIRION evolves novel therapeutic viral vectors and uses proprietary technology platforms based on lenti-, adeno-, and adeno-associated viruses to expedite advances in drug development. Its improved AAV vectors are intended to overcome the shortcomings of traditional AAVs. Sanofi, working together with SIRION and Prof. Dirk...
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Sanofi Joins Hands with German Biotech to Develop Improved AAV Capsids for Gene Therapies
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INTERVIEW

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Interview

How the ICT Industry is Poised to Transform Healthcare? – An Interview with AUO President Frank Ko

Smart medical care and remote medical care have always remained a long-term vision, but they have rapidly progressed in the past five years. The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated this field’s transformation and application by reducing crowded wards and unnecessary contacts. Frank Ko, President & COO of AU Optronics (AUO), has played a vital role in transforming AUO from a display supplier to a solution provider. GeneOnline had the opportunity to interview him and gather his views through the perspective of smart healthcare and the ICT industry. AUO has been a key player in the medical field for several years, especially in providing medical displays, including high-end displays for diagnosis, endoscopy, surgery, X-ray, or PPE diagnostics. AUO is an important...
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How the ICT Industry is Poised to Transform Healthcare? – An Interview with AUO President Frank Ko
COVID-19 Interview

Prof. Han van den Bosch: The Mammoth Task of Vaccinating the World

As COVID-19 continues to snowball into a massive health and economic concern, the world is anxiously anticipating a vaccine. While Russia's vaccine was approved in August, several biopharma giants worldwide have progressed their candidates to Phase III evaluations in a rush to deliver them at an unprecedented speed. Yet, "vaccine development is one thing, vaccination is another," says Prof. Han van den Bosch, a seasoned veteran in the vaccine development space. Dr. van den Bosch is an emeritus professor of "International Public Health" at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. He has held top management posts in the industry in global R&D and has been instrumental in developing vaccines for various diseases. We invited him for a discussion to obtain expert...
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Prof. Han van den Bosch: The Mammoth Task of Vaccinating the World
Asia Insight Feature Interview

Building a Biomedical Value Chain and Accelerating the Development of the Biomedical Industry

Interview with Hsi-Wen Tsai, Director of the Incubation Center, NHRI   Currently, there are more than one hundred incubation centers in Taiwan, which mainly provide resources for startups and small to medium-sized enterprises in their early stages of development. Those resources include spaces, instruments, technology, capital, business-related services, management consulting, etc., to reduce their initial start-up cost and risk. Most incubation centers are set up within the universities and government agencies. Among them, the Incubation Center of the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) has immense experience in focusing on the biotechnology and biomedical sector and has played a vital role in developing Taiwan's biomedical industry. Foundation of NHRI’s Incubation Center "During the year 2000, Taiwan's biotechnology and biomedical industry were...
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Building a Biomedical Value Chain and Accelerating the Development of the Biomedical Industry
Interview

The Profound Impact of Duplex Sequencing: An Interview with Jesse Salk, CEO, TwinStrand Biosciences

Despite the recent progress in targeted cancer therapies, the frequent development of drug resistance has proved to be a major hindrance. Rare mutations acquired by a small population of cells could benefit tumorigenesis and be cancer’s ticket to back door entry. However, identifying them is a challenge owing to the high error rates of current sequencing tools. A powerful sequencing method dubbed ‘Duplex Sequencing’ could significantly minimize this problem. By sequencing both strands of individual DNA molecules, Duplex Sequencing can identify ultra-low frequency mutations with a 10,000-fold higher resolution. We interviewed Dr. Jesse Salk, CEO of TwinStrand, to learn more about the technique and its potential in advancing cancer research.   From Concept to Reality The foundation of TwinStrand Biosciences...
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The Profound Impact of Duplex Sequencing: An Interview with Jesse Salk, CEO, TwinStrand Biosciences
Interview

Dr. Joseph Kvedar: The Potential of Telemedicine in the Era of Digitalization

Telemedicine is an intervention that facilitates patient access to healthcare outside of the doctor's office. To manage overwhelming patient populations, in recent years, hospital systems around the world have started to embrace it. The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic has only accentuated the value of this approach with mandatory measures like lockdown and social distancing in place. "The interest in remote or virtual care delivery has been accelerating in the last five years, but our time to shine is now," says Dr. Joseph Kvedar, who has been a staunch advocate of digital health for close to three decades. A seasoned dermatologist at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Kvedar has been at the forefront of telemedicine with his eminent leadership at Partners...
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Dr. Joseph Kvedar: The Potential of Telemedicine in the Era of Digitalization
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ASIA INSIGHT

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Clover Biopharmaceuticals Raises $230 Million to Expand Trimer-Tag Technology

On February 23rd, Chengdu-based Clover Biopharmaceuticals announced the completion of an oversubscribed Series C funding round of $230 million. The funds will be directed mainly for the pipeline expansion on …

TECHNOLOGY

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Tessera Raises $230M to Develop ‘Gene Writing’ into Novel Genetic Therapy

  Tessera Therapeutics, a Boston-based life science startup raised $230M in Series B financing. Incubated at Flagship Labs since 2018, Tessera debuted in 2020 with a $50M investment to innovate …

NORTH AMERICA

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Looking to Overcome Limitations in Gene Therapy Space, PBM Capital Backed Startup Launches with $20 M in Series A

SalioGen Therapeutics, a Burlington-based biotech startup, announced on March 1st that it had closed its $20 million Series A financing round. The funds will support preclinical validation of mammal-derived enzyme …

Feature Video