‘Banner Day’ of Funding for Life Sciences Startups

Yesterday, according to Red Herring, was “a banner day for life sciences companies searching for money,” with companies from the U.S., Canada, Germany and India announcing funding.

Asmacure, of Quebec City, announced a Series A financing of $9 million, which it will use to support R&D of its lead compound aimed at a new pharmacological approach for the treatment of asthma. The money came from Fonds Bio-Innovation and Innovatech Québec Chaudière-Appalaches, both from Quebec City, and Domain Associates from Princeton, NJ .

Indian firm Avestha Gengraine Technologies said it has $5.5 million on the way from New York Life Investment Management India Fund. The bioinformatics company — which is backed by Indian investors such as ICICI Ventures, Tata Industries, Godrej Industries and Cipla Ltd., and bioMérieux, of France — is focused on the convergence of food, pharmaceuticals and clinical genomics to develop preventive personalized medicines.  

Kinaxo Biotechnologies of Munich announced an undisclosed amount of first-round venture funding, sheparded by new lead investor Mountain Partners AG and co-investor KfW, both German firms. Seed investor High-Tech Gründerfonds as well as Kinaxo shareholders Max Planck Society, BioM AG, Axel Ullrich and Hellmut Kirchner also participated in the financing. Most of the money will go toward a new in-house mass spectrometry facility. Kinaxo’s chemical-proteomics technology, KinaTor, identifies and characterizes the interaction of small molecule inhibitors with their protein targets in the physiological context of a cell.

In the U.S., Maple Grove, MN-based CVRx closed $65 million in fourth-round financing, with Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation serving as the lead investor. The private medical device company has developed the Rheos Baroreflex Hypertension Therapy System, an in-development implantable device designed to control hypertension. This video provides a nice overview of hypertension and of how CVRx’s technology can help people who don’t respond to pharmaceutical treatment. CVRx has received IDE approval from FDA to begin a U.S. pivotal clinical trial that is evaluating the safety and effectiveness of the Rheos System in 300 patients.

Finally, Red Herring reports that Philadelphia-based Avid Radiopharmaceuticals secured $26 million in a Series C round, with Safeguard Scientifics and AllianceBernstein serving as lead investors. Also participating: BioAdvance, Lilly Ventures, Pfizer and RK Venture Group.

Add to Red Herring‘s list StrataGent Life Sciences. The privately held company from San Jose, CA, today announced that it closed a $16 million Series B round of financing led by Essex Woodlands Health Ventures (Technology Partners, the Series A investor, and Aphelion Capital, also participated in the round). StrataGent — which will get $6.65 million upfront, with the balance deliverable next year based on certain milestones — develops painless, non-invasive versions of therapies that would otherwise be injected. Its products are based on its proprietary microjet technology, which delivers large and small therapeutic molecules without a device penetrating into or through the skin. 

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