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David Epstein emerges at newly named Flagship Pioneering

Flagship Pioneering today announced the appointment of industry veteran David Epstein to serve in the newly created role of Executive Partner. Epstein will join as a strategic resource to the firm that systematically conceives, creates, resources and grows first-in-category ventures to transform human health and sustainability. The appointment follows Flagship’s recent additions of industry leaders Dr. Michael Rosenblatt (formerly of Merck) as Chief Medical Officer and Jim Gilbert (formerly of Boston Scientific and Bain) as Senior Partner, and supports the firm’s goal of driving accelerated value growth within its portfolio companies.
“David is a leader and long-time pioneer within the pharma industry, having developed dozens of new medicines benefiting millions of patients around the world,” said Noubar Afeyan, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Flagship. “His progressive approach to science and business acumen gleaned over his tenured career in the pharmaceutical industry complements Flagship’s culture and team. We will apply his expertise broadly as we continue making and realizing the maximum potential of disruptive innovations that yield unprecedented therapies.”
Mr. Epstein’s first significant involvement within the Flagship portfolio will be as Chairman of the Board of Rubius Therapeutics, a venture founded and launched by the Flagship VentureLabs® innovation foundry to exploit the potential medical impact of endowing red blood cells with therapeutic properties. The company’s disruptive platform provides off-the-shelf, enucleated cell-based therapies that promise to treat a wide array of ailments including cancer and autoimmune, metabolic, and hematologic diseases.
“Flagship Pioneering is breaking boundaries and exploring new frontiers that, I believe, could dramatically improve the quality of human life,” said Epstein. “Joining Flagship’s disruptive innovation engine is an opportunity of a lifetime, and I welcome the opportunity to bring my passion for medicine, deep knowledge and ties to industry, and commitment to solving some of the world’s greatest health challenges to bear. In particular, I am tremendously excited by the promise of Rubius’ Red-Cell Therapeutics™ platform, as it portends the broad impact of off-the-shelf, precision cell therapies.”
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eFFECTOR Therapeutics Secures New Series B Funding

eFFECTOR Therapeutics, an early-stage company focused on the discovery and development of small molecule cancer therapeutics in San Diego, has secured its Series B financing up to USD 56 million. The new funding came from Sectoral Asset Management, a new investor in the syndicate, as well as existing investors. Meanwhile, eFFECTOR Therapeutics appointed Maha Katabi, a partner from Sectoral, to its board of directors.

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Kuros Biosurgery Closes Round at CHF 20m

Kuros Biosurgery AG, a biotechnology company developing novel biomaterials and bioactive-biomaterial combination products and focused in therapeutic areas covering sealants and orthobiologics, today announces that it has raised an additional CHF 5 million in a fully subscribed second closing of its financing round. The CHF 5 million was raised from a group of non-disclosed new and existing investors and brings the total raised in the round to CHF 20 million.

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Boston’s Biotech Women Take Center Stage

The last few days has seen a number of events in the Boston Biotech Cluster which have involved women executives. Here is our pick of the top 5:

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Biotech Investors Follow Pattern in Funding and Hiring Executives

Written by: Karl Simpson

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Audion Therapeutics has Investors Listening

Audion Therapeutics is a Netherlands based biotech developing therapeutics in the area of hearing loss, an area that has garnered serious interest from investors against the backdrop of an ageing population. This investor sentiment has meant that Audion Therapeutics was able to raise €2.5 million Series B investment from INKEF Capital, a Netherlands based venture capital firm. In addition, Audion announced that, together with a strong international consortium of development partners, it was awarded a 5.8 million Euro grant through the Horizon 2020 program, an important funding source for many European biotechs. The combined funds of €8.3 million enable Audion to progress its lead program targeting sensorineural hearing loss to clinical Proof of Concept.

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Sanofi Genzyme Bioventures announce a brace of deals

Sanofi Genzyme Bioventures announced to financing deals today (Sept 8 – 2015), as it contributed to the financing of Proteostasis Therapeutics, a Series B mezzanine round of $37m to the company developing a cystic fibrosis drug for the orphan disease. The financing in the Cambridge, MA based company was led by Cormorant Asset Management and also included Rock Springs Capital Management. Existing investors New Enterprise Associates, Elan Science One, HealthCare Ventures, Fidelity Biosciences, Novartis Bioventures, Novartis Venture Fund, and Sanofi Genzyme BioVentures also participated in the financing.

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Selecta Biosciences recruits $38m Series E and CMO

Selecta Biosciences raises $38m in Series E funding and also appoints Earl (‘Skip’) Sands, MD, as Chief Medical Officer (CMO). The company is a clinical stage biotech developing a novel class of targeted antigen-specific immune therapies. Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance multiple product candidates from Selecta’s Synthetic Vaccine Particle (SVP) platform, which creates antigen-specific immunotherapeutics, with priority implementation of the clinical program for Selecta’s lead immunotherapeutic candidate, SEL-212, which is designed to be the first nonimmunogenic biologic therapy for gout.

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Genmab and Novo Nordisk in bispecific antibody deal

Genmab A/S (OMX: GEN) announced it has entered an agreement to grant Novo Nordisk commercial licenses to use the DuoBody technology platform to create and develop  bispecific antibody candidates for two therapeutic programs.  The bispecific antibodies will target a disease area outside of cancer therapeutics.  Under the terms of the agreement, Genmab will receive an upfront payment of USD 2 million from Novo Nordisk.

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$40m for rare focused Rhythm

Rhythm announced today the completion of a $40 million Series A financing for its subsidiary, Rhythm Metabolic, Inc., which is developing setmelanotide (RM-493), a novel peptide MC4 agonist for the treatment of obesity caused by genetic deficiencies in the MC4 pathway. In this round, new investors OrbiMed, Deerfield Management, Wellington Management Company, and an undisclosed public healthcare investment fund joined existing investors MPM Capital, New Enterprise Associates, Third Rock Ventures, Pfizer Ventures, and Ipsen. Associated with the financing, Jonathan Silverstein, JD, Partner and Co-Head of Global Private Equity at OrbiMed, joined the Rhythm Metabolic Board of Directors.

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