In addition to recent Independence Day festivities, the U.S. biotech space has other reasons to celebrate. The asthma drug developer Upstream Bio topped the ranks for the U.S.’ biggest early-stage biotech investment in June 2022, but manufacturing heavyweight National Resilience, Inc. bagged the private funding top spot with a huge Series D round.
In June 2022, the U.S. private biotech investment scene was stormed by a huge $625 million Series D round raised by National Resilience.
The San Diego-based company was founded in 2020 as the U.S. struggled to handle the manufacturing demand for healthcare products resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is investing big cash in speeding up the production of a range of therapies including cell and gene therapies in addition to cell-free manufacturing for biologics such as antibodies.
“We have an ambitious goal to reinvent biomanufacturing by bringing new processes and technologies to an industry that hasn’t kept pace with the explosive innovation in drug discovery,” said Resilience CEO Rahul Singhvi in a public statement. “While we recognize that our goal is neither quick nor easy, we are driven by our mission to democratize access to medicines.”
Upstream Bio came second in the rankings with a Series A round worth $200 million. The Massachusetts firm will use the proceeds to finance the development of its lead antibody drug for the treatment of asthma and other inflammatory conditions.
In third place, the Californian company ReCode Therapeutics bagged $120 million in a Series B round extension. Added to existing Series B funding, ReCode’s funding round now totals $200 million. The company is using a range of genetic medicines such as messenger RNA (mRNA) to tackle cancer, liver disease and conditions in the central nervous system. ReCode’s lead program is aimed at the genetic respiratory conditions cystic fibrosis and primary ciliary dyskinesia.
No other biotech investment rounds at the Series A stage were at the same level as that of Upstream Bio. Second place went to Code Biotherapeutics, a Greater Philadelphia-based player developing non-viral gene therapies. The company raised $75 million to bankroll the development of a candidate therapy for the genetic condition Duchenne muscular dystrophy and the autoimmune disease type 1 diabetes.
Rather than using viral vectors like many gene therapy players, Code Biotherapeutics delivers gene therapies in the form of a molecule called 3DNA. This approach is designed to avoid many of the limitations of viral vectors, including their small carrying capacity and their tendency to trigger attacks from the immune system, which limits the number of doses patients can receive.
The winner of the U.S. biotech investments seed round category in June 2022 was Ratio Therapeutics in Boston. The startup jumped out of stealth mode with $20 million to finance its push to develop radiopharmaceutical treatments for cancer.
The seed round runner-up was Talus Bio, a Seattle-based company developing a drug discovery platform targeting transcription factors. Transcription factors are proteins that can control which genes are turned into proteins and when. Talus is working on transcription factor targets for treating cancer with its own drug pipeline in addition to potential partnered candidates.
Industrial biotech investment rounds didn’t reach the huge sizes of those flowing into healthcare specialists, but there were many highlights from this sector. One was a $22 million round closed by SCiFi Foods, a San Francisco company developing beef grown from animal cells rather than from traditional animal farming. Another was a $13 million Series A round bagged by Algiknit in North Carolina. The biotech startup is growing kelp to mass-produce biomaterials for use in industries including fashion, interiors and furnishings, and automotive.