Greater Philadelphia Life Sciences Series A Rounds: Where Are They Now? (Part 1)

By Steve Surdez
March 7, 2023

Closing a Series A funding round is an impressive and important milestone for any startup or emerging life sciences company. 

Much blood, sweat and tears are spent to advance a concept, pilot or potential therapy to a point where investors are willing to back a company, often pouring millions of dollars into their coffers. Series A funding is crucial to any growing organization as it provides the financial runway to purchase equipment, build facilities, hire talent and invest in R&D and clinical trials. 

But raising a Series A is no guarantee of success. 

It’s a critical first step of many, many critical steps for maturing life sciences companies that have to navigate the long and uncertain journey to IPO, commercialization, expansion, exit or acquisition. 

We checked in with four Greater Philadelphia companies that closed some notable Series A rounds to see how they were progressing. Here’s what we found. 

Arrivent Biopharma

Bing Yao, who founded and led Maryland’s Viela Bio before its acquisition by Horizon Therapeutics, is at it again with his latest venture Arrivent Pharma (Arrivent). Located just outside Philadelphia, Arrivent’s mission is to deliver potential first- and best-in-class candidates out of China, Europe, South Korea and Japan where development challenges can prevent them from ever reaching the market.

The company has in-licensed several novel, oncology-focused drug candidates and is developing them. Furmonertinib is in Phase Ib currently and is a potential treatment for non-small cell lung cancer; ARR-002 is a potential novel cancer therapeutic agent that the Arrivent team is developing with its partner Aarvik Therapeutics.

Arrivent announced that it had closed a $150M Series A round in June 2021. The round was led by Hillhouse Capital Group, with participation from Lilly Asia Ventures, OrbiMed, Octagon Capital Advisors, Boyu/Zoo Capital, and Lyra Capital.

Since that time, Arrivent has partnered with Aarvik Therapeutics and appointed Bahija Jallal to its Board of Directors. Jallal is the CEO of Immunocore and a former high ranking executive at MedImmune and AstraZeneca. Arrivent also announced in July 2022 that it had enrolled the first patient in its Phase 1b trial of Furmonertinib in patients with advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.

Aro Biotherapeutics

Aro Biotherapeutics (Aro), which is located in Philadelphia, is on a mission to solve a major challenge facing the successful development of RNA and DNA-based therapeutics: the inability to selectively target gene-modulating therapies to diseased tissues.

Led by Co-founder and CEO Susan Dillon, Aro is on a mission to significantly enhance the activity of genetic medicines in extra-hepatic tissues by leveraging the Centyrin platform to enable tissue specific targeting. The company’s patented platform technology called Centyrins that are uniquely positioned to achieve precise targeting of diverse therapeutic payloads to specific cells of interest. 

Aro Bio announced early in 2021 that it had closed a $88 million Series A financing led by Northpond Ventures and Cowen Healthcare Investments with participation from HealthCap, BVF Partners L.P., and Ridgeback Capital. Existing investors, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (JJDC), BioMotiv, LLC, and Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  

Since the Series A raise, Aro has been very active; the company relocated its headquarters to the Curtis in City Center, Philadelphia and has significantly expanded its leadership team. In August 2022, Aro announced Aro had received FDA Orphan Drug Designation for ABX1100 for the treatment of Pompe Disease. A month later the company announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Rare Pediatric Drug (RPD) designation for ABX1100, an investigational Centyrin-siRNA conjugate that targets the Gys1 gene in muscle, for the treatment of Pompe disease.


Renovacor, formerly headquartered in Philadelphia, was a biotechnology company focused on delivering innovative precision gene therapies to improve the lives of patients and families battling genetically-driven cardiovascular and mechanistically-related diseases. The technology at its center was spun out of Temple University.

Renovacor’s lead program was a recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapy for patients suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) due to mutations in the BAG3 gene. Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition affecting over 3 million patients in the US and growing steadily.

In 2019, the company announced that it had closed an $11M Series A round co-led by Novartis Venture Fund, Broadview Ventures, and BioAdvance, and joined by New Leaf Venture Partners and Innogest Capital. A few years later in August 2021 Renovacor announced that it had closed a SPAC (Special Acquisition Company) combination and went public on the New York Stock Exchange; the transaction yielded net proceeds of $95.1M, according to Renovacor’s press release

Renovacor’s pipeline and lead candidate REN-001 attracted acquisition suitors and the company was purchased by Rocket Pharmaceuticals in September of 2022


Located just outside Philadelphia, XyloCor Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel gene therapy for unmet needs in advanced coronary artery disease, which is a leading cause of death and disability. The company’s lead product candidate, XC001, is in clinical development for patients with refractory angina for which there are no treatment options. XyloCor also has another candidate, XC002, which is in the discovery stage; XC002 is designed to help patients with cardiac tissue damage from heart attacks.

In March 2021, the company announced that it had closed an additional $22.6 million financing to close out a two part Series A round of funding totalling $41.9M. Fountain Healthcare Partners led the oversubscribed financing joined by new investors Longwood Fund and Lumira Ventures. 

Since the close of its Series A round, XyloCor has continued to expand its leadership team and has made progress in advancing its pipeline: in July 2021, the company started the Phase 2 component of its Phase I/II EXACT clinical study of XCZ001 and in May 2022 presented preliminary data from that same EXACT study. Then in June 2022, XyloCore announced it had achieved enrollment of a target number of subjects in the Phase 2 portion of its ongoing Phase 1/2 clinical trial (EXACT) for refractory angina.

The company expects topline results from the Phase 2 study around February 2023 with interim results in the second half of 2022.

We’ll be checking in with more Series A companies in the near future – stay tuned!