AvenueB Creates a Path to Success for Biology Students

UC Davis | April 14, 2020

The Genentech Foundation has donated $2.5 million to the University of California, Davis, College of Biological Sciences — the college’s largest single gift ever — to fund a program that will help biology students transferring from community college. Called AvenueB, the program will provide financial support and preparatory programs for students going to four-year university. According to the Campaign for College Opportunity, students transferring from community colleges to a University of California campus may pay $36,000 more in tuition and fees than those who enter as freshmen. Challenges such as coordinating class requirements, units and fees — the so-called transfer maze — can delay a student’s path to success and result in unnecessary costs.

Spotlight

It is clear within the global health science industry that analytical biosafety testing and advances in developing scientific technologies will play an important role in drug development’s response to the next pandemic.

Spotlight

It is clear within the global health science industry that analytical biosafety testing and advances in developing scientific technologies will play an important role in drug development’s response to the next pandemic.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

Casma Therapeutics Raises $46.0 M in Series C Funding

Casma Therapeutics, Inc. | November 21, 2022

Casma Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company engaging the autophagy system to provide innovative new medicines, announced the closing of a Series C financing round of $46.0 million. New investors participating in the round include Amgen Ventures, LLC, Astellas Venture Management, Eisai Co., Ltd., Euclidean Capital, Mirae Asset, and Ono Venture Investment. Current investors Eventide Asset Management, LLC, Schroders Capital, The Column Group, Third Rock Ventures, and other funds also participated in the financing. Dr. Hiromichi Kimura, Investment Director of Astellas Ventures, has joined the board of directors. Dr. Tomotaka Okino of Ono Venture Investment and Amgen Ventures have joined as board observers. Casma will use proceeds to advance its lead program for MYD88 mutant lymphoma through preclinical and into IND enabling studies. “The closing of this financing has strengthened our resources to continue advancing our drug pipeline focused on autophagy-based degradation. We are thrilled to welcome several top-tier investors who recognize the potential of our biological platforms and therapeutic assets targeting well-known high-value and traditionally undruggable targets.” Keith Dionne, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Casma Therapeutics, Inc "Casma’s autophagy-based degradation platform, PHLYT™, is unique and impressive,” commented Dr. Kimura. “Along with a rich pipeline of autophagy degraders, the company has also established a highly qualified team with extensive scientific experience in drug development. We expect that this round of funding will accelerate development of Casma’s pipeline assets, especially its degrader for MYD88 mutant tumors.” About Casma Therapeutics, Inc. Casma Therapeutics, Inc. is developing novel cellular degradation approaches based on the autophagy pathway to open new target areas for drug discovery and development that will profoundly impact the lives of patients. Autophagy is a conserved cellular process that contributes to overall cellular homeostasis. The autophagy machinery targets large and complex disease targets such as organelles, protein aggregates and large signaling complexes and before directing them to the lysosome for elimination. By selectively degrading disease targets by autophagy, Casma expects to arrest or reverse the progression of disease in multiple oncology, inflammation, neurodegeneration, and metabolic disorders.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

Bicycle Therapeutics Announces BT5528 Phase I Dose Escalation Results in Patients with Advanced Solid Tumors

Bicycle Therapeutics | September 08, 2022

Bicycle Therapeutics plc a biotechnology company pioneering a new and differentiated class of therapeutics based on its proprietary bicyclic peptide technology, today announced Phase I dose escalation top-line results from its Phase I/II trial of BT5528, a BTC targeting EphA2, in patients with advanced solid tumors. “The therapeutic profile from the dose escalation portion of the Phase I/II trial of BT5528 in patients with late-line disease suggests both differentiated safety and promising activity, most notably in ovarian and urothelial cancers. Significant safety concerns seen with antibody drug conjugate approaches have limited the ability to effectively address EphA2, a target which correlates with tumor progression and is overexpressed in many cancers. Based on BT5528’s promising and differentiated safety profile, we hope to demonstrate the true therapeutic potential of this target, this program and our broader Bicycle Toxin Conjugate platform.” Dominic Smethurst, Chief Medical Officer of Bicycle Therapeutics “Smaller size, tumor penetration, pharmacokinetic and other qualities distinguish BT5528 and other members of our BTC platform from traditional toxin delivery systems and may confer significant advantages,” said Kevin Lee, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Bicycle Therapeutics. “Clinical data emerging from our BT5528 study continues to elucidate these potential advantages, and supports the continued, rapid advancement of our Bicycle-targeted therapeutics platform, all with the ultimate goal of creating unique, impactful medicines that transform the lives of patients. Enrollment continues on schedule in the expansion portion of this trial, and we anticipate providing further updates next year.” BT5528, a BTC targeting EphA2, a target for which prior antibody-based approaches have been unsuccessful, has demonstrated anti-tumor activity and differentiated tolerability. Bicycle has established an RP2D dose and is enrolling ongoing expansion cohorts. Bicycle advancing BT5528 in ongoing expansion cohorts. In June 2022, Bicycle announced the dosing of the first patient in the part B dose expansion portion of the Phase I/II trial. Up to 56 patients will be enrolled in the initial expansion cohorts, with the ability to further expand enrollment based on results from these cohorts. Dose expansion is taking place in urothelial (n=14) and ovarian (n=14) cancers as well as in a basket cohort of other solid tumors (n=28), including non-small cell lung, triple-negative breast, head and neck, and esophageal cancers. Conference Call Details Bicycle Therapeutics will host a conference call and webcast today, September 7, 2022, at 8:30 a.m. ET to review the BT5528 trial data. To access the call, please dial at least 10 minutes prior to the start time and ask to be joined to the Bicycle Therapeutics call. A live webcast of the presentation will be available on the Investors & Media section of the Bicycle website, About Bicycle Therapeutics Bicycle Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a novel class of medicines, referred to as Bicycles, for diseases that are underserved by existing therapeutics. Bicycles are fully synthetic short peptides constrained with small molecule scaffolds to form two loops that stabilize their structural geometry. This constraint facilitates target binding with high affinity and selectivity, making Bicycles attractive candidates for drug development. Bicycle is evaluating BT5528, a second-generation Bicycle Toxin Conjugate targeting EphA2; BT8009, a second-generation BTC targeting Nectin-4, a well-validated tumor antigen; and BT7480, a Bicycle TICA® targeting Nectin-4 and agonizing CD137, in company-sponsored Phase I/II trials. In addition, BT1718, a BTC that targets MT1-MMP, is being investigated in an ongoing Phase I/IIa clinical trial sponsored by the Cancer Research UK Centre for Drug Development. Bicycle is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, with many key functions and members of its leadership team located in Lexington, Massachusetts.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Alloy Therapeutics Raises $42 Million Series D Financing to Accelerate Discovery Technology Development Across Biologic Modalities

Alloy Therapeutics, Inc. | October 04, 2022

Alloy Therapeutics, a biotechnology ecosystem company, has closed $42 million in Series D financing led by its existing investors 8VC and Mubadala Capital and joined by return investors Thiel Capital, Presight Capital, Founders Fund, and other unnamed family offices and sovereign wealth funds. Alloy will use proceeds from the Series D financing to further support the drug discovery community with new pre-competitive drug discovery technologies in new biologic modalities and new partnership models designed to fuel innovation. Since Alloy’s Series C fundraise in March 2021, Alloy has expanded from its foundational antibody discovery technologies and discovery services into T-cell receptors with the launch of its Keyway TCR Discovery division, and genetic medicines through its collaboration with Dr. Sudhir Agrawal, the inventor of gapmer technology. Alloy has further expanded with three new research sites, in Basel, CH; Athens, GA; and San Francisco, CA. “After three years of hard work and planning, we were proud to formally launch Keyway TCR Discovery in January 2022. We envision a future in 20 years where engineered TCRs and TCR mimics are as successful a modality as monoclonal antibodies are today. Keyway believes this is possible by providing unrestricted access to enabling technologies and discovery services without pharma having to spend billions of dollars to acquire companies for proprietary technologies and people.” Dongxing Zha, CEO of Keyway and Alloy’s CTO for TCR Modalities In response to growing engagement from partners, Alloy will further leverage its Series D funds to continue to invest in expanded offerings across all six of its modalities. These will support the drug discovery community in the pursuit of multi-modal therapeutics while reducing or eliminating stacked downstream payments. Through its affiliated venture studio, 82VS, Alloy supports scientist-entrepreneurs with seamless access to its cutting-edge technologies and discovery services. 82VS companies are often the first customers of Alloy’s innovations, having full access to the Alloy suite of technologies and discovery services to advance the best drug candidates and invent new applications that can benefit the broader Alloy ecosystem and, ultimately, patients and their caregivers. To best serve the vast discovery needs of pharmaceutical companies, Alloy is pioneering an Innovation Subscription offering that gives its collaborators access to all current and future Alloy technology platforms for one flat, annual fee with no milestones or royalties. Partners benefit from Alloy as an ever-growing source of pre-competitive, foundational discovery technology. Alloy also supports complementary CROs, CDMOs and other discovery and development service providers as a critical part of the collaborative ecosystem to empower pharma in its mission to cure disease. In this subscription model, Alloy provides a new home for promising pre-competitive technologies and academic breakthroughs that have traditionally been underfunded or unavailable to all. “Our Innovation Subscription model is available now as an exciting next step in furthering our collaborative mission and unlocking the potential for sharing foundational, pre-competitive drug discovery technologies with the global drug discovery community,” said Alloy Therapeutics Chief Executive Officer and Founder Errik Anderson. “Including this financing, Alloy will have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in innovation that the largest pharma companies can access through a flat, annual subscription with no additional milestones or royalties. Emerging biotech and academics can access our tech through collaboration and more traditional and creative structures. Combined with the reinvestment of 100% of our revenue, including our subscription revenue, back into innovation and access to innovation, Alloy is a new for-profit business model that plays for the collective long game in a non-zero-sum way. The value of a subscription goes up every year, while the fees stay flat or even will decrease with scale. We price this so a single avoided royalty will pay for the entire platform access over a 20-plus-year period. We are grateful for our longstanding investors for supporting this vision of arming the drug discovery industry with the tools they need to discover and develop the best medicines for patients more quickly.” Alloy launched in 2017 to democratize foundational, pre-competitive technologies and capabilities for the discovery of therapeutic biologics and has since grown with over 130 partners across academia, biotech, and large biopharma. Its first platform was the ATX-Gx™, a suite of transgenic mouse strains for human antibody discovery that was originally in-licensed from a major pharma company and made broadly available to the drug discovery ecosystem by Alloy, with open access to newly introduced strains. Through its DeepImmune™ Antibody Discovery services, Alloy helps partners find the best therapeutic antibody candidates against targets of interest, by deploying a bespoke blend of its proprietary in vivo, in vitro, and in silico technologies and workflows. In 2022, Alloy launched Keyway™ TCR Discovery as its second fully integrated technology and services offering for the discovery of therapeutic engineered TCRs and TCR mimics. “Alloy has successfully expanded its flagship discovery offering in antibodies to multiple promising modalities to better serve the global drug discovery community,” said Alaa Halawa, Head of Mubadala Capital’s US Ventures business, which first backed Alloy as an investor in its Series C financing. “We are proud to partner with the company as it executes on its promise of enabling scientists through the development of transformative drug discovery technologies. We look forward to seeing how the partnership with large pharma partners and other venture firms will leverage Alloy’s platform to enable their therapeutic discovery teams and emerging startups to advance the best medicines.” About Alloy Therapeutics aAlloy Therapeutics is a biotechnology ecosystem company empowering the global scientific community to make better medicines together. Through a community of partners across academia, biotech, and the largest biopharma, Alloy democratizes access to pre-competitive tools, technologies, services, and company creation capabilities that are foundational for discovering and developing therapeutic biologics across six modalities, including antibodies, TCRs, genetic medicines, peptides, cell therapies, and drug delivery. Partners may access all current and future technologies for a flat annual fee through Alloy’s Innovation Subscriptions offering. As a reflection of Alloy’s relentless commitment to the scientific community, Alloy reinvests 100% of its revenue in innovation and access to innovation. About Alloy’s Antibody Discovery Offering Alloy’s first foundational platform, the ATX-Gx™ mice, is a suite of proprietary transgenic mice strains for human therapeutic antibody discovery, which can be accessed in your lab or through DeepImmune™ Antibody Discovery. This service integrates Alloy’s full complement of proprietary in vivo, in vitro, and in silico discovery and optimization technologies into one comprehensive service offering for fully human monoclonal and bispecific antibody discovery. The technologies and protocols can be replicated in a partner’s organization through a platform transfer and as part of an Alloy Innovation Subscription. Alloy is a leader in bispecific antibody discovery and engineering services, utilizing its proprietary ATX-CLC common light chain platform integrating novel transgenic mice and phage display. About Keyway™ TCR Discovery In 2022, Alloy launched Keyway™ TCR Discovery, Alloy's second fully integrated platform and service offering. Led by a team of TCR therapeutic pioneers and experts and leveraging the full resources of the Alloy ecosystem, Keyway provides comprehensive proprietary technology and capabilities for end-to-end discovery of TCR mimics and engineered TCRs, which includes production and quality control of MHC/peptide complexes, biophysical characterization, specificity testing, reformatting, and engineering, affinity maturation, and in vivo and in vitro preclinical testing. Partners may access Keyway's technology and capabilities through a standard or bespoke one-stop-shop discovery campaign, platform transfer, or Innovation Subscription.

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