New York-based biotech raises $60 million to develop a pipeline of companies and therapeutics to treat diseases of aging under its unique operational strategy.
Cambrian Biopharma, a distributed drug discovery company, exited stealth today with the announcement that it has raised $60 million in private financing to develop medicines to extend healthy lifespan.
Longevity.Technology: Cambrian is a multi-asset biotech that combines the advantages of a biotech business, a venture capital fund and an incubator as it creates a platform for developing multiple new longevity therapeutics.
Today’s launch coincides with the IPO of its affiliate company Sensei Biotherapeutics, which began trading last week on 4th February 2021, World Cancer Day, raising approximately $133m and seeing its market cap rise to about $600 million. Cambrian is the largest shareholder in Sensei Bio.
By working like a hub-and-spoke model to develop a family of companies, Cambrian hopes to promote a thriving environment, building expert teams in drug discovery, development, clinical trials, finance and market analysis as a shared resource for each pipeline company to use. This “unique operational strategy” is called DisCo, or distributed drug discovery company.
“I think that there’s a lot of opportunity in this space and one of the things that we really need is companies that can move fast with a lot of capital,” James Peyer, CEO and Co-Founder of Cambrian, told me ahead of today’s announcement. “Hallmarks of aging, as well as other types of molecular damage that accumulate in our bodies as we get older, are in scope for Cambrian, we are really building an R&D company first, one that’s making allocation decisions, not investments across a series of our pipeline companies.”
Cambrian scientists are targeting the nine hallmarks of aging, including cellular senescence, sustained tissue inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction. They are leveraging breakthroughs in fields that include immunology, genomics and epigenetics, and technologies that range from gene editing to new stem cell therapies.
“Over the next decade, Cambrian aims to detect and prevent aging-related diseases before they take root … we are inspired to lay the foundation for conquering today’s most devastating diseases at the onset of the 21st century.”
Cambrian has put three major categories of aging at the top of its to-do list; it plans to tackle intracellular dysfunction (things that go wrong inside cells, such as mutating DNA or shrinking telomeres), cellular dysfunction (whole-cell level problems, such as senescence or energy pathway break down) and tissue level dysfunction (stem cells exhaustion, chronic inflammation, or the breakdown of tissue architecture).
“Over the next decade, Cambrian aims to detect and prevent aging-related diseases before they take root,” said Peyer. “Much like scientists were able to prevent and reverse lethal diseases like smallpox and polio in the 20th century, we are inspired to lay the foundation for conquering today’s most devastating diseases at the onset of the 21st century.”
Peyer co-founded Cambrian along with seasoned biotech investor and entrepreneur Christian Angermayer, who serves as Cambrian’s chairman. While in stealth mode, the company raised $60 million from a syndicate of long-term investors including Angermayer’s Apeiron Investment Group, Future Ventures, Catalio Capital Management, Brent Saunders, Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital and others. Peyer and Angermayer are joined on Cambrian’s Board of Directors by Maryanna Saenko, Partner at Future Ventures, and Marty Chavez, the former CFO of Goldman Sachs, as a Board Observer.
“We are proud to announce that with Sensei, there was a $600 million longevity IPO this year …”
To date, Cambrian has 14 novel therapies under development within its stable of companies. The first of these to be disclosed is Sensei Bio, which has as its lead therapeutic product candidate a genetically engineered bacteriophage vaccine that has already demonstrated promising data in a Phase 1/2 human clinical trial of patients with late-stage head and neck cancer.
“We are proud to announce that with Sensei, there was a $600 million longevity IPO this year,” said Peyer, “you just haven’t heard of it yet.
“When we look for a programme to partner with it has to have two features. The first is that it targets a mechanism of aging, one of the related to one of the hallmarks of aging, and it can be progressed towards an FDA approvable clinical endpoint rapidly and cost-effectively number one, and then number two, the mechanism has to theoretically be useful in the prevention or reverse the role of age-related disease, not just the treatment of acute disease.”