Be Bio Closes $130 Million Financing to Pioneer Engineered B Cells, a New Class of Cellular Medicines
Financing led by ARCH Venture Partners with participation from new investors and existing investors: Atlas Venture, RA Capital Management, Alta Partners, Longwood Fund and Takeda Ventures
Proceeds will advance autologous and allogeneic Engineered B Cell Medicine (BeCM) platforms, as well as progress pipeline candidates in oncology and rare disease toward investigational new drug (IND) applications
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. April 14, 2022 – Be Biopharma (“Be Bio”), a pioneer in the discovery and development of Engineered B Cell Medicines (BeCM), today announced the closing of a $130 million financing, bringing the total investment in the Company to over $180 million. The proceeds will advance Be Bio’s proprietary autologous and allogeneic BeCM platforms across multiple therapeutic areas and progress pipeline candidates toward the clinic. The Series B was led by ARCH Venture Partners and joined by Bristol Myers Squibb and other new investors, alongside existing investors including Atlas Venture, RA Capital Management, Alta Partners, Longwood Fund and Takeda Ventures.
Steven Gillis, Ph.D., Managing Director at ARCH Venture Partners, joins the Board of Directors. Robert Nelsen, co-founder and Managing Director of ARCH Venture Partners and Robert Plenge, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President, and Head of the Immunology, Cardiovascular and Fibrosis Thematic Research Center at Bristol Myers Squibb, join as observers.
“The human B cell produces thousands of proteins per second. Be Bio is harnessing this remarkable cell to engineer a new class of cellular medicines that produce durable therapeutic proteins in vivo with the potential ability to dose titrate, and re-dose when required, without the need for toxic pre-conditioning,” said Joanne Smith-Farrell, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer at Be Bio. “Our pipeline spans multiple therapeutic areas, and we are inspired and humbled by the potential to transform patients’ lives. With the support of highly regarded investors and the addition of Dr. Gillis to our Board of Directors, Be Bio is in a strong position to advance novel programs across our rare disease and oncology portfolios, further develop our platform and manufacturing capabilities and expand our team.”
“Be Bio’s leadership has an exemplary record of developing and commercializing products in the cell and gene therapy field and I am encouraged by their progress since launch,” said Steven Gillis, Ph.D., Managing Director at ARCH Venture Partners. “I am pleased to join the Board and support the Company in its efforts to develop a transformative B cell platform. The untapped potential of B cell medicines is exciting, as is Be Bio’s highly modular platform that could rapidly unlock a pipeline of product candidates across a variety of serious diseases.”
Be Bio has a broad pipeline initially focused on rare disease and cancer. As the Company advances its platform, it plans to expand into additional therapeutic areas including infectious disease, neurological conditions and autoimmune disease.
About ARCH Venture Partners
ARCH Venture Partners invests in life science and advanced technology companies and is one of the world’s leading early-stage venture firms. The firm is a recognized leader in commercializing technologies developed at academic institutions, corporate research groups and national laboratories. ARCH invests primarily in companies it co-founds with leading scientists and entrepreneurs, bringing innovations in life sciences and physical sciences to market. For more information visit www.archventure.com.
About Steven Gillis, Ph.D.
Dr. Gillis joins the Be Bio team with decades of experience advancing life science technologies and growing biotechnology companies. With over 300 peer-reviewed publications in the areas of molecular and tumor immunology he is credited as being a pioneer in the field of cytokines and cytokine receptors. Dr. Gillis has been a Managing Director at ARCH Venture Partners since 2006 where he focuses on the development and growth of ARCH’s biotechnology portfolio companies. Additionally, he serves as a Director of Homology Medicines and Takeda Pharmaceuticals, as well as Director and Chairman of Codiak Biosciences and VBI Vaccines. Dr. Gillis also serves as director or chairman of multiple additional, private ARCH portfolio companies, all involved in bringing forward novel medicines directed at significant unmet medical needs. Dr. Gillis received a B.A. from Williams College and a Ph.D. from Dartmouth College.
About B Cells – A New Class of Cellular Medicines
Imagine what could “Be?” In nature, a single B cell engrafts in the bone marrow and can produce thousands of proteins per second at constant levels over decades. B cells are nature’s exquisite medicine factories, manufacturing proteins to fight disease and maintain health. Unleashing the power of B cells is driving a new class of cellular medicines – Engineered B Cell Medicines (BeCM). BeCMs have the potential to be durable, allogeneic, redosable and administered without toxic conditioning. The promise of BeCMs could transform therapeutic biologics with broad application — across protein classes, patient populations and therapeutic areas.
About Be Biopharma
Be Biopharma (“Be Bio”) is pioneering Engineered B Cell Medicines (BeCM) to dramatically improve patients’ lives who are living with cancer, rare diseases and other serious conditions. With eyes locked on the patient, our team of purpose-driven scientists, technologists, manufacturing experts and business builders collaborate to create a bold new class of cell therapies. Be Bio was founded in October 2020 by Longwood Fund and B cell engineering pioneers David Rawlings, M.D., and Richard James, Ph.D. from Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Be Bio is backed by ARCH Venture Partners, Atlas Venture, RA Capital Management, Alta Partners, Longwood Fund, Bristol Myers Squibb and Takeda Ventures. Since our founding, Be Bio’s investors have committed over $180 million to enable the Company to re-imagine medicine based on the power of B cell therapy. For more information, please visit us at Be.Bio and our LinkedIn page.
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