July 19 Quick Takes: Frontera raises $160M series B
Plus Avista, Roche partner and updates from Novartis, Merck and more
Buoyed by FDA’s acceptance of an IND application for its gene therapy candidate to treat a rare retinal disease, Frontera Therapeutics Inc. raised a $160 million series B to fund clinical development and manufacturing. The financing was raised from investors including Boyu Capital, Sequoia China, OrbiMed and Creacion Ventures; OrbiMed and Creacion also invested in the company’s $35 million series A in 2019. Frontera’s APEX technology and manufacturing platform is based on an adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene expression system.
Newly launched UPMC spinout Avista Therapeutics Inc. has attracted Roche (SIX:ROG; OTCQX:RHHBY) as its first partner to develop AAV capsids based on the biotech’s single-cell AAV engineering platform. The deal, which brings Avista $7.5 million up front plus milestones and royalties in exchange for rights to evaluate and license novel capsids, will focus on intravitreally injected vectors for ophthalmic gene therapy indications. The deal is the latest demonstration of pharma interest in engineered AAV capsids to create next-generation gene therapies...