NC Life Science Firms Raise $500M in 2015

Life science companies across North Carolina raised some $500 million in public and private financing in 2015.

  • Humacyte, a Duke University regenerative medicine spinout that got its first loan support from NCBiotech, raised $150 million in a committed Series B preferred stock financing – one of the largest private bioscience financings in state history. The privately held Morrisville company will use the money to support clinical trials of its investigational human acellular blood vessel, HUMACYL. Humacyte is engineering the implantable blood vessels for patients suffering from the severe kidney deterioration called end stage renal disease. More.
  • High Point drug developer vTv Therapeutics raised $117 million in an initial public offering of stock – the state’s only biotech IPO of the year. Proceeds will largely fund clinical trials of azeliragon, the company’s drug candidate for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. More.
  • Novan Therapeutics, a Durham-based developer of dermatology products, raised $80 million from private investors. Novan, a privately held company that was spun out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010, is conducting clinical trials of an acne drug candidate and a topical anti-viral candidate for treating genital warts caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infections. More.
  • AgBiome of Research Triangle Park raised $34.5 million to fund research and the projected launch of its first product, a natural fungicide for crops and turf grasses. AgBiome’s 50 employees will soon move into a new 30,000-square foot facility being completed in the Park. AgBiome analyzes microbes found in and on crop plants and in surrounding soil for their potential use as biological products and as sources of genetic traits that can reduce crop damage and improve yields. More.
  • G1 Therapeutics, a spinout of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that previously received $500,000 in loans from NCBiotech, raised $33 million in a Series B infusion of venture capital. It will use the financing to develop and test its technology, a biopharmaceutical “shield” that protects bone marrow from chemotherapy and radiation damage.  An intravenous fluid for chemotherapy protection is in clinical trials. More.
  • Durham drug developer Innocrin Pharmaceuticals closed on $28 million in Series D financing to support testing of a new therapy for difficult prostate and breast cancers. Innocrin is developing small-molecule inhibitors of CYP17 lyase, a key enzyme in certain cancers. Its leading drug candidate is an oral medication intended to treat castration-resistant prostate cancer and hormonally dependent breast cancer. More.
  • Spyryx Biosciences, a Chapel Hill pharmaceutical developer seeded with a $50,000 loan from NCBiotech, secured an $18 million Series A investment from a venture capital syndicate. Spyryx was founded in 2013 to commercialize a unique approach for treating devastating lung diseases including cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). More.
  • Durham-based Baebies Inc. completed $13 million in equity financing, a year after it received a $500,000 Strategic Growth Loan from NCBiotech. Babies is commercializing technology that can screen for genetic disorders in newborns from tiny amounts of bodily fluids such as dried blood or saliva. The screening system, consisting of a benchtop analyzer, a digital microfluidics cartridge and software, can quickly perform multiple tests, allowing for earlier identification and treatment of genetic disorders. More.
  • Raleigh-based Contego Medical, a medical device firm founded in 2005, announced the completion of a $5.6 million Series B financing round. Contego received a $250,000 Small Business Research Loan from NCBiotech in 2014 for the development of its novel stent and balloon catheter systems that include filters to prevent blockages in arteries. More.
  • Research Triangle Park drug company Dignify Therapeutics  parlayed $300,000 in loans from NCBiotech into $3.15 million in equity financing. The funding will support the development of Dignify’s lead product, believed to be the only medication ever designed specifically to provide rapid, on-demand, drug-induced voiding as a therapeutic strategy for people with spinal injury, spina bifida and other neurological conditions. More.

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