A Flagship startup secures $121M in new funding
Cellarity has raised $121 million in its third round of venture financing, bringing the company’s total funding raised since launching in 2017 to $274 million.
The funds will be used to bring Cellarity’s first research programs into clinical testing for metabolic and blood disorders, the biotechnology startup said.
In recent years, young biotechs often looked to go public after their second, or Series B, round of venture funding. In 2022, however, an increasing number are staying private to avoid the stormy public markets. IPOs have fallen sharply this year among biotech companies, a dropoff that’s been particularly steep for cell and gene therapy startups, according to data from BioPharma Dive.
But Fabrice Chouraqui, Cellarity’s CEO, said the company has “always” eyed a third round of venture investments instead of going public.
“The Series C will allow us to also expand our investor base, which we did with four new investors,” Chouraqui said. “Now looking more into the future, we’re keeping optionality.”
When Flagship Pioneering launched the Somerville, Mass.-based company five years ago, its founders theorized they could create more effective drugs by studying the cellular molecular network — the pathways and relationships between proteins, genes and other parts of the cell. Using artificial intelligence and other technologies, researchers are able to map out each individual cell. That information helps Cellarity develop drug candidates that can target specific cell behavior changes.
“What we are doing is that we are designing drugs to address the underlying cellular dysfunction of the disease,” Chouraqui said.
The company is working on seven research programs targeting metabolic and blood disorders, as well as cancers. Cellarity’s most advanced drug candidates remain preclinical, and are expected to advance to human trials in the next two years, the company said.
“Since the cell is a fuller representation of disease, the platform is uniquely designed to drive higher translatability and clinical success, creating important new medicines for internal pipeline development as well as with partners,” Stephen Berenson, a managing partner at Flagship and chairperson of Cellarity’s board of directors, said in a statement.
Flagship participated in the Series C round, as did four new investors including Tokyo-based Kyowa Kirin Co. and Seoul-based Hanwha Impact Partners.
Previously, the company pulled in $123 million in a Series B round in 2021, and raised $30 million in Series A financing. It has no immediate plans for an IPO or a Series D round, Chouraqui said.
Cellarity is the second Flagship company in two months to raise Series C funding. The other startup that opted for a third private round was Senda Biosciences.
Correction: A previous version of this story included an incorrect funding total for Cellarity and mischaracterized the company as working in cell and gene therapy.
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