Six biotechnology startups are merging into a new skin drug developer called Alys Pharmaceuticals, which launched on Monday with $100 million from European life sciences investment firm Medicxi.
Alys was formed out of the merger of a group of biotechs hatched in recent years by Medicxi: Granular Therapeutics, Aldena Therapeutics, Nira Biosciences, Graegis Pharmaceuticals and Vimela Therapeutics. They’ve been combined to create a larger company with a broad pipeline of experimental dermatology medicines.
The company is starting out with a dozen programs in preclinical testing, including potential treatments for atopic dermatitis and vitiligo. It’s currently run by Chief Operating Officer Thibaud Portal, a venture partner at Medicxi and longtime executive with Galderma.
In forming Alys, Medicxi is using a familiar playbook. Three years ago, the company merged 10 of its portfolio companies into Centessa Pharmaceuticals and launched it with $250 million in funding. The concept was borne out of Medicxi’s “asset-centric” approach of investing in companies focused on one or two experimental medicines, rather than a broad drugmaking platform. Centessa, and now Alys, are examples of using that model on a broader scale.
“We believe that bringing together several asset-centric companies with a phenomenal team will power up Alys to transform innovation in immuno-dermatology,” said Medicxi partner and Alys chairman Francesco De Rubertis, in a statement. “Alys manages a broad pipeline of assets with diverse risk profiles and will hugely benefit from this change of scale and facilitated access to capital.”
Alys intends to ask the Food and Drug Administration to begin human tests for all of the dozen medicines in its pipeline by the end of 2026, per its website. The company expects to have seven early-stage readouts by late that year, too.
The company is launching at a time when immune disease biotechs have become a hot commodity. Progress developing drugs for immunological disorders helped drive an uptick in dealmaking last year that some Wall Street analysts expect to continue.
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