Good day. Venture capitalists are funneling $100 million into
biotechnology company's ShouTi Inc.'s effort to turn injected
medicines into oral pills.
Biotech companies have made strides developing antibodies and
other biological drugs that are taken by injection or infusion. But
these medications aren't widely available in much of the world,
partly because of the difficulty of keeping them cold while
transporting them through hot climates, said ShouTi Chief Executive
Raymond Stevens. Biological drugs, or biologics, are made of
proteins that degrade easily when heated.
South San Francisco-based ShouTi aims to develop pills that work
as well or better than current biologics. Its approach involves
studying how biologics interact with molecular targets in the body.
The goal is to identify smaller molecules that interact in the same
way. These smaller molecules can then be developed into pills that
are easily stored, according to Dr. Stevens.
ShouTi's small-molecule drugs may also have other advantages,
such as improved ability to penetrate tissues in the body, he
ShouTi, founded in 2017, has an early-stage pipeline that
includes potential medicines for chronic cardiovascular and
pulmonary diseases. These conditions were prevalent before the
pandemic, but Covid-19's impact on the lungs and heart will
increase the need for treatments in these areas, Dr. Stevens
And now on to the news...
Regulatory hodgepodge. Telemedicine startups expanding
nationwide are navigating increasingly complex regulatory terrain
as states take varying stances on how they govern this type of
Telemedicine companies have scaled up rapidly during the
pandemic to meet growing demand. Venture capitalists fueled much of
the growth, investing $13 billion in U.S. telemedicine startups
this year, as of Oct. 18, compared with $7.7 billion in all of last
year, according to PitchBook Data Inc.
Startups have benefited from relaxed restrictions on
telemedicine enacted because of Covid-19. Now some states are
reverting back to their old rules, while others are continuing
their pandemic policies, creating a regulatory hodgepodge for
startups to negotiate.
Medicare coverage for telemedicine, minimal before the pandemic,
has expanded greatly because of the public-health emergency. Unless
Congress acts, that broader coverage will diminish once the
public-health emergency ends. A bipartisan bill in the Senate, and
companion legislation in the House, would expand Medicare coverage
The amount of venture capital invested in U.S. telemedicine
startups through Oct. 18 this year, according to PitchBook.
European Life Sciences Investor Sofinnova Raises $548
European venture-capital firm Sofinnova Partners has raised
EUR472 million, equivalent to $548 million, to invest in life
sciences startups, the latest in a series of healthcare funds the
firm has closed recently. Sofinnova raised this latest fund, to
invest in early-stage biotechnology and medical-device companies.
In July, Sofinnova said it had raised a EUR63 million pool to
launch medical-technology startups, and in March, it disclosed a
EUR445 million crossover fund targeting later-stage companies. A
decade ago, capital for European startups was harder to come by,
but Sofinnova has found that funding for its startups is now more
readily available. European biotech startups secured $3.66 billion
in venture capital in the first half of this year, approaching the
$4.6 billion raised in all of 2020, according to Silicon Valley
WSJ Tech Live
Sarah Guo, a partner at Greylock Partners, spoke Wednesday at
The Wall Street Journal's Tech Live conference.
Greylock's Sarah Guo Sounds Alarm on Heightened Cybersecurity
23andMe Cites Broader Tech Privacy Concerns for Kit Sales Dip
Republican SEC Commissioner Criticizes Agency's Approach to
Pulmonary disease treatment developer Avalyn Pharma Inc.
appointed Marc Schneebaum as chief financial officer. He was most
recently senior vice president and CFO of Madrigal Pharmaceuticals
Inc. Seattle-based Avalyn Pharma is backed by Norwest Venture
Partners, Pivotal BioVenture Partners, F-Prime Capital, Novo
Holdings, RiverVest Venture Partners and TPG.
Encodia Inc., a proteomics research technology provider, hired
Nigel Beard to the post of chief technology officer. He was most
recently CTO and senior vice president of operations at Mission
Bio. In January, San Diego-based Encodia said it raised a $75
million Series C round from Northpond Ventures, Deerfield
Management, GV, Arch Venture Partners and others.
Neurelis Inc. appointed Brittany Bradrick as chief financial
officer, replacing George Stuart. Ms. Bradrick was previously chief
operating officer and chief financial officer at ViaCyte. San
Diego-based Neurelis in March said it completed a $114 million
Series D round from Cormorant Asset Management, Decheng Capital,
LYZZ Capital and HBM Healthcare Investments.
NeuExcell Therapeutics Inc., a gene therapy company focusing on
neurodegenerative diseases, named Lori Gavrin to the new position
of chief business and strategy officer. She was most recently vice
president of corporate development at Tmunity Therapeutics. State
College, Pa.-based NeuExcell recently raised more than $10 million
in pre-Series A funding from investors including Co-Win
Everly Health, the parent company of digital health company and
at-home lab testing brand Everlywell, acquired fertility products
and pregnancy essentials provider Natalist. Terms weren't
disclosed. Austin, Texas-based Everly Health, which earlier this
year was valued at $2.9 billion, has raised over $325 million to
date from investors including Goodwater Capital, Highland Capital
Partners, Next Coast Ventures, Greenspring Associates, Lux Capital
and Morningside Ventures. Natalist was backed by Collaborative
Fund, Cowboy Ventures, Fuel Capital, Rock Health and xFund.
HealthEdge Software Inc., a provider of automation and
connectivity technology to the health insurance industry, plans to
acquire digital health-management startup Wellframe Inc. for an
undisclosed sum. Last year, funds managed by Blackstone became the
majority owner of Burlington, Mass.-based HealthEdge Software.
Wellframe, of Boston, is backed by investors including Blue Venture
Fund, Threshold Ventures and F-Prime Capital.
Castle Biosciences Inc. agreed to acquire Cernostics Inc.,
developer of a test that predicts the risk of esophageal cancer in
patients with Barrett's esophagus, for an undisclosed amount.
Pittsburgh-based Cernostics is backed by Illumina Ventures.
Bardavon Health Innovations, an Overland Park, Kan.-based
workers' compensation and musculoskeletal health company, secured a
$90 million investment. Matrix Capital Management led the round,
with additional participation from WestCap.
D&D Pharmatech Inc., which is developing treatments for
neurodegenerative, fibrotic and metabolic diseases, closed a $51
million Series C round. Praxis Capital Partners led the investment,
which included additional support from DS Asset Management, Kudos
Ventures and Korea Investment & Securities. The company has
offices in Korea and Gaithersburg, Md.
Cerecin Inc., a Singapore-based neurotherapeutics startup,
landed $40 million in Series II and IIA funding from investors
including Nestlé, Partners Investment, Arche Investment, SK
Securities and Hana Financial Investment.
SPR Therapeutics Inc., a Cleveland-based medical device company
focused on providing pain relief without opioids or surgery, raised
$37 million in an oversubscribed Series D round of growth equity.
Revelation Partners led the financing, with additional investment
from River Cities Capital and Mutual Capital Partners.
Scout Bio Inc., a Philadelphia-based developer of therapies for
chronic pet health conditions, closed $33 million in Series B2
funding. New investors including OrbiMed were joined by existing
backers Digitalis Ventures, Frazier Healthcare Partners, RiverVest
Venture Partners, Greenspring Associates, Adage Capital Management
and Correlation Ventures in the round.
Radionetics Oncology, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based developer of
nonpeptide radiopharmaceuticals for the treatment of a broad range
of oncology indications, launched with $30 million in funding from
5AM Ventures and Frazier Healthcare Partners.
Insurights, an employee health benefits platform based in New
York and Israel, was seeded with a $22 million investment. Group 11
led the funding, which included participation from Cresson
Management, Good Company and Insurtech Israel.
Biomilq Inc., which is developing a novel infant feeding option
derived from human mammary cells, fetched $21 million in Series A
funding led by Novo Holdings.
RedShift BioAnalytics Inc., a Burlington, Mass.-based startup
whose technology helps facilitate decision making in
biopharmaceutical development, completed a $20 million Series E
round. Illumina Ventures led the investment, which included
contributions from Technology Venture Partners and Waters Corp.
SouSmile, a Brazilian startup offering aesthetic dental
treatments, nabbed $18 million in Series B funding. Lead investor
Kaszek was joined by Global Founders Capital, Chromo Invest and
others in the round.
Contraline Inc., a Charlottesville, Va.-based male contraception
provider, closed a $10.7 million Series A round led by MBX
Lydia AI, a health AI insurtech startup with offices in Toronto
and Taiwan, raised an $8 million Series A+ round led by Information
Open, a Los Angeles-based mindfulness studio offering
experiences that combine breathwork, meditation, yoga, Pilates and
more, collected $9 million in Series A funding led by Founders Fund
and A.Capital Ventures.
More Health News
Biogen's new Alzheimer's drug meets slow rollout
White House says Covid-19 vaccine for children 5-11 will be at
schools, pediatric offices once authorized
New York City to require Covid-19 vaccinations for all public
ESPN reporter Allison Williams quits over vaccine mandate,
fertility concerns. Many share her fears.
Around the Web
Gates Foundation will provide $120 million to ensure generic
production of Merck's Covid-19 pill. (STAT News)
Scientists search for the cause of mysterious Covid-related
inflammation in children. (Kaiser Health News)
AstraZeneca slams the brakes on MCL-1 blood cancer drug. (Fierce
Waiting on a U.S. mandate, some nursing homes are slow to
vaccinate staff. (New York Times)
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 21, 2021 09:36 ET (13:36 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.