Biotechnology companies have become a huge attraction for VC dollars in the Philly region in the last several years, and a handful of companies in the sector this week have helped prove that growth. Technological advances have accelerated discoveries across the life sciences, and money is flowing toward therapies, research and in honor of those lost to certain diseases (a family donated $55 million to the University of Pennsylvania for breast cancer research this week). Let’s dive into who’s gotten funding:
The VC wings of Pfizer, Bayer, Novartis, Eli Lilly and Bristol Myers Squibb have come together to support the birth of a new biotech: Capstan Therapeutics. Armed with $165 million from the companies and VCs, the startup will advance a CAR-T therapy produced inside patients toward clinical development.
TEDCO, Maryland’s economic engine for technology companies, announced today it invested $1 million in Medcura, Inc. through the new State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). Based in Riverdale, MD, Medcura is a life science and medical device company that has commercialized its first product derived from its advanced wound treatment platform for rapid bleeding management and is in the final stages of development of the next standard of care for the management of intraoperative surgical bleeding.
The Manufacturing Assistance Program is designed to help growth-stage stem cell companies fund and build out their manufacturing capabilities, which is a major need, particularly among the Fund’s portfolio companies that have reached this stage in their development.
Virginia Venture Partners, the equity investment program of Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC), today announced an investment in Manassas, Va.-based Jeeva. Jeeva provides a scalable eClinical Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that helps sponsors and contract research organizations (CROs) accelerate flexible clinical operations while minimizing burden on site staff and patients. Jeeva will use this investment towards commercialization of the SaaS platform to accelerate therapy development for therapeutic areas such as rare diseases, immunology, and oncology in the U.S. and in emerging markets such as Latin America and India, where the company has recently established strategic partnerships.
Saint Joseph’s University will expand its commitment to women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through a $2.6 million investment from the John P. and Anne Welsh McNulty Foundation. The University and the Foundation have worked to advance women’s representation and leadership in STEM for over a decade through the John P. McNulty Scholars program.
The White House announced the grant to the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority on Friday. It is among 21 projects that will receive grants from the Build Back Better Regional Challenge, using a $1 billion fund created under the American Rescue Plan Act to generate economic opportunities in disadvantaged communities that need them.
In 2019, Fulton Bank launched a new division aimed at supporting life sciences companies that many financial institutions shied away from historically—young, emerging bioscience and tech companies that offer high risk, high reward investment profiles.
While Lycoming County, PA is mainly known for hosting the Little League World Series every year, a new investment in the area will hopefully give a boost to its manufacturing sector. West Pharmaceutical Services, a maker of vials, pre-fillable syringes and self-injection products, will invest $65 million to expand its manufacturing site in the town of Jersey Shore, PA a few miles down the road from Williamsport, PA. However, the square footage of the expansion and the timeline of the completion were not immediately available. The company will be investing about $60 million to expand the facility as well as increase the company headcount by 225 both at the Jersey Shore location and at the company’s headquarters in Exton, PA.
The Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund (MSCRF) is a champion for women in stem cell research. A host of women-led labs have received MSCRF support in pursuit of ground-breaking research in a wide-range of areas, including fields as diverse as blood brain barrier modeling, tissue engineering, autism, and rare disease therapeutics, among others.