May 23 Quick Takes: VCs back cancer play Larkspur with $35.5M
Plus: PTC reports vatiquinone Phase III miss, discontinuation of gene therapies and updates from Innoviva, Pfizer, Wave, Arrowhead, Icosavax and more
Precision immunotherapy company Larkspur Biosciences Inc. launched with $35.5 million in combined seed and series A funding as it seeks to develop a lead program targeting PIN1 to address immune evasion of tumors in colorectal cancer patients. The company, whose all-female leadership team is led by CEO Catherine Sabatos-Peyton, will seek proof of concept for the precision approach in patients who have T cells at their tumor sites and can be identified via biopsy. The syndicate’s co-leaders are Polaris Innovation Fund, 3E Bioventures Capital and Takeda Ventures Inc.; also participating are Creacion Ventures, Med-Fine Capital and Cornell University. Polaris’ Amy Schulman is the newco’s chair.
PTC Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:PTCT) was down $12.41 (21%) to $46 after-hours Tuesday after reporting plans to reprioritize its pipeline in the wake of a Phase III miss for vatiquinone in Friedreich ataxia. The company will discontinue its preclinical and early research gene therapy programs and cut its workforce by about 8%, moves it expects to reduce operating expenses by 15%; CFO Emily Hill will depart. ...
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