Arix Bioscience, a global venture capital company focused on investing in breakthrough biotechnology companies, announced that portfolio company Twelve Bio will be acquired by Ensoma in connection with an $85 million financing of Ensoma which Arix co-led, investing $9 million.
Twelve Bio is a gene editing company pioneering the therapeutic application of next-generation CRISPR-Cas medicines. It was a spun-out from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Centre for Protein Research at the University of Copenhagen and Creation House programme at Bio Innovation Institute, with Arix as the sole investor in March 2021. Ensoma is a Boston-based genomic medicines company developing one-time in vivo treatments that precisely engineer any cell of the hematopoietic system.
Arix co-led the Ensoma financing alongside existing investor 5AM Ventures. Other new investors include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), Solasta Ventures, Catalio Capital Management and Mirae Asset. Other existing Ensoma investors F-Prime Capital, Cormorant Asset Management, Viking Global Investors, Takeda Ventures, Inc., SymBiosis, Alexandria Venture Investments and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center also participated.
Advancing cell therapy platform
Proceeds from the financing will enable Ensoma to advance the development of its in vivo engineered cell therapy platform and accelerate its pipeline of genomic medicines for immuno-oncology and other therapeutic applications.
Robert Lyne, CEO of Arix, said: “Arix was instrumental in spinning out Twelve Bio and providing the resources to enable the team to develop their technology to the stage where it can play an exciting part in the future of gene editing. The agreement to acquire Twelve Bio by Ensoma less than two years after our original investment is a validation of our focus on the most promising areas of biotechnology.
“We are delighted to have co-led the concurrent financing alongside other investors of the highest quality and look forward to supporting the Ensoma team as they work to bring important new treatments to the clinic.”
Smart immune cell medicines
Emile Nuwaysir, president and CEO of Ensoma, said: “Ensoma’s platform will enable the next generation of smart immune cell medicines to address complex diseases. With these expanded capabilities, we can precisely engineer, in vivo, the hematopoietic stem cell with DNA edits as small as one base pair or as large as 35 kilobase insertions, with just a single intravenous administration.
“That combined capability is unprecedented. In addition, Ensoma now has the capital, expertise and committed partners necessary to bring our breakthrough medicines to the clinic. We look forward to welcoming the Twelve Bio team and their world-class expertise to Ensoma and are immensely grateful to new and existing investors for their support of Ensoma’s mission to democratize genomic medicines.”
In connection with the financing, Arix takes a seat on the Ensoma board of directors.
Closing of the acquisition of Twelve Bio is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including clearance by the Danish Business Authority pursuant to Danish foreign direct investment laws.