3:42 PM
 | 
Jan 08, 2019
 |  BC Extra  |  Financial News

Venture roundup: Apic, Stelexis, Biond, Keros

Gene therapy company Apic Bio Inc. (Cambridge, Mass.) and cancer company Stelexis Therapeutics LLC (New York, N.Y.) each announced series A rounds this week of at least $40 million.

Other companies that announced venture rounds this week include Biond Biologics Ltd. (Misgav Industrial Park, Israel), which raised $17 million in a series B round, and Keros Therapeutics Inc. (Lexington, Mass.), which raised a $23 million series B round.

Apic plans to use its $40 million series A to develop APB-101, a "liver sparing" gene therapy treatment that silences the Z-AAT protein and augments the M-AAT protein. It is in preclinical development to treat AAT deficiency (see "AAT Deficiency Newco Apic Bio Launches").

Apic said the financing will also enable development of additional preclinical programs and support discovery efforts for the company's gene silencing and replacement THRIVE platform.

Morningside Venture Investments led the round. Existing investors The Alpha-1 Project and A1ATD Investors also participated, along with new investor ALS Investment Fund. Morningside's Jason Dinges joined the company's board.

Stelexis plans to use its $43 million round to generate clinical trial data to validate its platform to discover and selectively target precancerous stem cells. The company said the platform seeks to identify the earliest definable precancerous stem and progenitor cells that lead to the formation of human primary and recurrent tumors.

Stelexis was founded and is solely funded by Deerfield Management.

Immunotherapy company Biond will use its series B funds to bring immuno-oncology program BION-202, a macrophage activator, into the clinic by 2020.

Israel Biotech Fund and Harel Insurance & Finance Group led Biond's round. Celgene Corp. (NASDAQ:CELG), the Japanese-Israeli fund, SBI JI Innovation Fund and undisclosed existing investors also participated.

Neuromuscular disease company Keros' B round funding will enable the company to bring two programs through Phase II testing: an ALK2 inhibitor to treat fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) and an undisclosed program for other rare neuromuscular diseases. Both programs are slated to start Phase I testing this half.

Keros' round was led by Pontifax, with participation from fellow existing investors Arkin Bio Ventures, Partners Innovation Fund and Medison Pharma, and new investor Global Health Sciences Fund (GHS) from Quark Venture and GF Securities. Quark's Zafrira Avnur will join the company's board.

AAT (A1AT; SERPINA1) - α-1 antitrypsin; ALK2 (ACVR1) - Activin receptor-like kinase 2

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