Alts Watch Healthcare Beat: $2bn in capital flow to biotech, digital health companies

As a revolutionary year in healthcare comes to a close, investors piled $2 billion into AI-driven therapeutics, digital health and other life sciences-focused technologies over the past week.

Investors in various rounds of financing include top-names in venture capital, private equity, hedge funds and pension funds. Many of the companies are based in Silicon Valley with partnerships in Asia, but more notably these companies are attracting company from every corner of the alternative investment world that encompasses U.S., Asia and European investment portfolios.

Overshadowing the $1 billion-plus week’s previously tracked by Alternatives Watch, the details of the previous week’s deals in the life sciences showcase 14 total investment rounds for the week ending December 20.

Verily Life Sciences

  • The deal: $700 million investment round (series unknown)
  • The players: The financing included Alphabet, Silver Lake, Temasek, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and other, undisclosed existing investors.
  • The play: South San Francisco-based Verily is Alphabet’s life sciences research division. The funding will be used to support the rapid expansion of some of Verily’s key commercial businesses, including Baseline, a digital platform designed to make clinical studies more efficient, and Verily Health Platforms, which offers programs such as Healthy at Work, Onduo and Coefficient to boost population health, clinical care delivery and management of chronic disease. The funding will also help advance Verily’s research programs in fields such as digital surgery, pathology and immunology.

Tempus

  • The deal: $200 million Series G-2 round, following up on a Series G round in March
  • The players: Investors included Baillie Gifford, Franklin Templeton, Google, Novo Holdings and funds and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price.
  • The play: Chicago-based Tempus was launched by Groupon Co-founder Eric Lefkofsky to advance precision medicine. Tempus claims its platform comprises one of the largest repositories of healthcare data in the world, and while it was initially used by physicians to analyze genomic data and make real-time patient treatment decisions, the firms has been unveiling growing numbers of partnerships with major biopharma players such as Johnson & Johnson.

Lyra Health  

  • The deal: $175 million Series E financing
  • The players: Current investors in the series have not been made public, past backers of the company include Adams Street Partners, Tenaya Capital, Meritech Capital Partners, IVP and Greylock.
  • The play: LyraHealth is known for its mental health wellness offering to employers such as Pinterest. The new round of financing follows a $110 million Series D raise over the summer. In October, the company publicized a partnership with mental health app Calm that has had over 90 million downloads to date.

Singlera Genomics

  • The deal: $150 million Series B financing
  • The players: Led by CICC Kai Tak Innovative Biomedicine Fund and co-led by Detong Capital and Furong Investment. The new group of investors also include Huamei International, Linden Asset Group, Wuxi Capital, FutureX Skyline Capital, Shanghai Free Trade Zone Fund, and initial investors from the Series A round such as Greenpine Capital, Prosperico Ventures, and Proxima Ventures.
  • The play: Singlera Genomics Inc. is a company focusing on non-invasive genetic diagnosis that was co-founded in July 2014 in San Diego, California. The company currently has R&D centers and business operations in both La Jolla, California, and Shanghai, China. It offers proprietary technologies in single cell sequencing, DNA methylation, and bioinformatics.

LeanTaaS

  • The deal: $130 million in Series D financing
  • The players: Led by Insight Partners with participation from Goldman Sachs.
  • The play: The Silicon Valley software company has a unique AI/ML driven platform that increases patient access to medical care by optimizing how health systems schedule and allocate the use of expensive, constrained resources. With this investment, LeanTaaS has raised more than $250 million in aggregate, including more than $150 million from Insight Partners. As part of the transaction, Insight Partners’ Jeff Horing and Jon Rosenbaum and Goldman Sachs’ Antoine Munfa will join LeanTaaS’ Board of Directors.

Neurogene

  • The deal: $115 million in Series B financing
  • The players: The round was led by EcoR1 Capital, with participation from existing investors Redmile Group, Samsara BioCapital, Cormorant Asset Management and an undisclosed leading healthcare investment fund. New investors include funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, funds managed by Janus Henderson Investors, Casdin Capital, Avidity Partners, Ascendant BioCapital, Arrowmark Partners, and Alexandria Venture Investments.
  • The play: New York-based Neurogene plans to use the capital to offer multiple gene therapy programs into the clinic and accelerate investment in novel gene therapy product designs. Neurogene’s technology platform is to offer therapies focused on complex neurological diseases.

Neuron23

  • The deal: $113.4 million in Series A and B financing
  • The players: The funding was comprised of $33.5 million Series A financing from Westlake Village BioPartners and Kleiner Perkins, and $80 million Series B financing led by Redmile Group. Additional Series B investors included Westlake Village BioPartners, Kleiner Perkins, Cowen Healthcare Investments, Acorn Bioventures, HBM Partners, Perceptive Advisors, and Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company).
  • The play: Neuron23 Inc. is an early-stage biotechnology San Francisco-based company focused on developing precision medicines for genetically defined neurological and immunological diseases. Specifically, this round will aid the company to expand its AI-enabled drug discovery and biomarker platforms for identifying therapeutics for devastating neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s disease, neuroinflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis and systemic autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

Locanabio, Inc.

  • The deal: $100 million Series B financing
  • The players: The round was led by Vida Ventures with participation from new investors including RA Capital Management, Invus, Acuta Capital Partners and an investment fund associated with SVB Leerink and prior Locanabio investors ARCH Venture Partners, Temasek, Lightstone Ventures, UCB Ventures and GV.
  • The play: The San Diego-based, CRISPR-focused company offers investors a portfolio of RNA-targeted gene therapies. Locanabio is currently developing therapies to treat multiple genetic diseases with no approved therapeutic alternatives, including Huntington’s disease, spinocerebellar ataxia type 1, myotonic dystrophy type 1, genetic forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and retinal diseases.

nference

  • The deal: $60 million Series C funding round
  • The players: The round was led by Matrix Capital Management, along with Matrix Partners, Mayo Clinic Ventures and NTTVC.
  • The play: Cambridge, Massachusetts-based nference is the provider of nferX, a comprehensive software platform that supports various applications in the life sciences ecosystem, helping scientists, researchers and clinicians leverage actionable knowledge in their efforts to develop new diagnostic tools and treatments.

H1

  • The deal: $58 million Series B round
  • The players: Growth-stage investment firm IVP and Menlo Ventures led the round, with the participation of Transformation Capital, Lux Capital, Lead Edge Capital, Novartis dRx and YC. IVP General Partner Somesh Dash is joining the company’s board of directors, while Menlo Ventures Partner JP Sanday and Lux Partner Deena Shakir are joining as board observers.
  • The play: New York-based H1 developed a professional database and data analytics platform featuring profiles of over 9 million healthcare professionals and 16,000 institutions in more than 70 countries — a LinkedIn of sorts for the life sciences sector.

MinervaX

  • The deal: 47 million euro ($57 million) Series B round
  • The players: The round was led by Novo Holdings REPAIR Impact Fund, with participation by new investors Sanofi Ventures, Wellington Partners, Adjuvant Capital and Industrifonden, as well as existing investors Sunstone Life Science Ventures and LF Investment.
  • The play: Copenhagen, Denmark-based biotechnology company MinervaX is developing a vaccine against Group B Streptococcus — an infection that affects nearly one in five women globally and is one of the leading causes of stillbirth and infant mortality.

Atsena

  • The deal: $55 million Series A round
  • The players: The financing was led by Sofinnova Investments, with participation from additional new investors Abingworth and Lightstone Ventures, as well as founding investors Hatteras Venture Partners and the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ RD Fund, along with existing investors Osage University Partners, University of Florida and Manning Family Foundation. Sofinnova Partner Sarah Bhagat will join Atsena’s board of directors, along with Jackie Grant, principal at Abingworth, and Jason Lettmann, general partner at Lightstone,
  • The play: Durham, N.C.-based biotechnology firm Atsena plans to use the funds to advance its experimental gene therapy for patients with GUCY2D-associated Leber congenital amaurosis, one of the most common causes of blindness in children.

Modern Health

  • The deal: $51 million Series C round
  • The players: Battery Ventures led the round, with participation by new investor Felicis Ventures and existing investors Kleiner Perkins, Founders Fund, 01 Advisors, Afore Capital and Frederic Kerrest, cofounder of identity management firm Okta.
  • The play: San Francisco-based Modern Health offers a platform that lets employers provide their staff with a package of mental health benefits combining therapists, coaches and digital content coordinated within an app.

Well

  • The deal: $40 million Series A financing
  • The players: Structured as a combination of equity and debt, the financing includes seed investors General Catalyst, John Doerr, Mosaic Health Solutions and partners of Hellman & Friedman. Well co-founders Loveman and David Werry are also significant investors in the company.
  • The play: Chapel Hill, N.C.-, and Newton, Massachusetts-based Well provides a platform that advances personalized health at scale through concierge and engagement-based health guidance, powered by a proprietary artificial intelligence-driven “health engine.”

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