Schultz-led Galvanize is acquired for a reported $1B

From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing April 5, 2021

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Nobel Prize winner Doudna sees her company raise $100M in Series B funding

Investors put a sizable amount of capital into Scribe Therapeutics, Inc., which was co-founded by Jennifer Doudna, who is the co-inventor of CRISPR and in 2020 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The Alameda, Calif. company raised $100 million in Series B funding from Avoro Ventures, Avoro Capital Advisors, OrbiMed Advisors, Perceptive Advisors, T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Wellington Management, RA Capital Management, Menlo Ventures and returning investor Andreessen Horowitz. In October, Andreessen Horowitz led Scribe’s $20 million Series A round.

Scribe is focused on engineering the most advanced platform for CRISPR-based genetic medicine. Launched in 2018, the company has been developing a custom platform of gene editing and delivery technologies. The company’s first technology, called X-Editing molecules, are highly engineered CRISPR enzymes that provide combined aspects of greater efficacy, specificity, and deliverability than currently available CRISPR genome editing technology. The company will look to utilize XE to address diseases of significant unmet need, starting with a pipeline of therapeutics for neurodegenerative disorders. Scribe has a research collaboration with Biogen, Inc. to develop and commercialize CRISPR-based therapies that address the underlying genetic causes of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS.

Jennifer founded Scribe with Benjamin Oakes, Brett Staahl and David Savage. In a statement, Jennifer said, “Scribe’s engineering-first philosophy has resulted in a uniquely flexible platform for imagining and creating a new era of CRISPR-based therapies to elevate the standard of care for thousands of patients.”

Jennifer shared the Nobel Prize with Emmanuelle Charpentier for their work in discovering the gene editing tool, Crispr-Cas9. They are the sixth and seventh women to receive the award since its inception in 1901. Jennifer, who is a professor of biochemistry, biophysics and structural biology at UC-Berkeley, helped found now-public Intellia Therapeutics and Caribou Biosciences. She also helped co-found Mammoth Biosciences with Janice Chen and Ashley Tehranchi.

Aguilar's INBRAIN Neuroelectronics raises $16.8M

Investors get behind a Spanish company co-founded and led by Carolina Aguilar that is developing a system for treating epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. INBRAIN Neuroelectronics S.L. raised $16.8 million in Series A funding from Asabys Partners, Alta Life Sciences, Vsquared Ventures, TruVenturo GmbH and existing investors Institut Català de Finances’ ICF Venture Tech II Fund.

Based in Barcelona, Spain, INBRAIN is focused on creating the world’s first intelligent graphene-brain interface. Graphene is a two-dimensional material first isolated in 2004 made of a lattice of carbon atoms only one atom thick. The strongest material ever tested, roughly 100 times stronger than the equivalent thickness of steel, graphene has unique electrical and thermal conduction properties that are still being explored. INBRAIN’s less-invasive graphene electrodes take advantage of some of these properties to enable ultra-high signal resolution at levels never seen before. The company’s machine learning software detects therapy-specific biomarkers to deliver highly focused, adaptive neuromodulation therapy that is personalized for each patient.

INBRAIN will use the funding to advance a first-in-human clinical program, aiming to establish the safety of graphene as the new standard of care for neurotechnology devices. Carolina co-founded the company with Jose Garrido, who is chief scientific officer.

EQT in discussions to acquire Cebra HealthCare

Cerba HealthCare, whose CEO is Catherine Courboillet, is poised to once again get a new private equity owner. After four years of ownership, Partners Group and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board have entered into “exclusive discussions” to sell the company to EQT. Terms have not been disclosed. In 2017, Partners and PSP Investments acquired Cerba from PAI Partners.

Based in Paris, Cerba operates pathology laboratories in France, Belgium and Luxembourg and serves more than 50 countries through its laboratory. It was founded in 1967. The majority of its revenue comes via routine lab tests. It also focuses on specialty lab testing for more complex medical diagnoses and testing services for clinical trials. Catherine, who joined Cerba in 1999 and has been CEO since 2005.

Terry and Ellis' ChargerHelp raises $2.75M

ChargerHelp, which was co-founded by Kameale C. Terry and Evette Ellis to provide repair services to electric vehicle charging stations, receives a burst of capital. The Los Angeles-based company raised $2.75 million from Trucks VC, Kapor Capital, JFF, Energy Impact Partners and The Fund. The company provides on-demand repair for EV charging stations, utilizing a trained team. Kameale, who is CEO, and Evette, who is chief workforce officer, founded the company in January 2020.

Liao's Immune-Onc Therapeutics closes on $73M in Series B1 and B2 financing

Immune-Onc Therapeutics, Inc., whose founder and CEO is Charlene Liao, secures additional capital. The cancer immunotherapy company said it closed on $73 million in Series B1 and B2 financing from Oceanpine Capital, Octagon Capital, Sphera Healthcare and existing investors, including Northern Light Venture Capital and Vivo Capital. It has now raised $110 million, including a $33 million round in 2018.

Based in Palo Alto, Calif., Immune-Onc is focused on discovering and developing novel biologic treatments for cancer patients. The company aims to translate unique scientific insights in the tumor microenvironment and immune suppressive pathways to develop first-in-class biotherapeutics. Immune-Onc is utilizing strategic collaborations and cutting-edge research from The University of Texas, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. It will use the new round to advance its portfolio of blood cancer and solid tumor immunotherapies targeting myeloid checkpoints.

Charlene founded the company in 2016. She previously held global drug development roles at Genentech where she led development efforts across the product lifecycle for 10 new molecular entities in a variety of therapeutic areas.

Comonte steps down as CFO of Shake Shack to lead venture-backed TMRW Life Sciences

Tara Comonte steps down from her role as president and chief financial officer of publicly traded Shake Shack to lead a venture-backed in vitro fertilization company. Tara was named CEO of TMRW Life Sciences, Inc.

Based in New York, TMRW has created an automated cell management solution and digital chain of custody for eggs and embryos in the IVF sector. TMRW’s pipeline now represents more than one third of all U.S. IVF volume. The company will expand its commercial operations to the United Kingdom and Europe in 2022.

Tara was a founding member of TMRW’s board. Prior to Shake Shack, she held roles with Getty Images and McCann Worldgroup. TMRW has raised $50 million from a group which includes 5AM Ventures.

Tang's Awkward Essentials raises 2.3M from Unorthodox Ventures

A personal hygiene company founded and led by Frances Tang secures seed funding. Awkward Essentials raised $2.3 million from Unorthodox Ventures. Based in Costa Mesa, Calif., Awkward produces just one product at present: the dripstick, which is described by the company as the first after-sex clean up product. Launched in 2019, the dripstick is made of soft, medical-grade sponge that quickly soaks up excess fluids. Awkward will use the new capital for innovation, scaling up production and overall go-to market strategy.

Metrycki's Callia raises $1.1M

A flower delivery startup founded by Catherine Metrycki receives seed capital. Callia, Inc. raised 1.1 million Canadian from Conexus Venture Capital, Inc., Lex Capital Corp. and Broad Street Bulls. Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Callia enables people to order fresh, hand-tied seasonal bouquets in just five clicks. The company serves 55 Canadian cities and will use the new capital will allow it to further expand in key markets and grow its team. Catherine founded Callia in 2016.

NorthEdge acquires Jones-led Correla

A private equity firm has acquired a company led by Sian Jones that aims to help create a less complex sustainable energy sector. NorthEdge is acquiring Correla after its divestment by Xoserve, a gas industry central data service provider. Terms were not disclosed. A technology and data services business, Correla will continue to deliver services to Xoserve. The divestment will enable Correla to develop new products and services through its data platform and expand into alternative energy markets. The company has end-to-end visibility of the United Kingdom’s gas network.

RA Capital invests $10M in Burger's New Equilibrium Biosciences

RA Capital Management seeds a company co-founded and led by Virginia Burger that is focused on discovering new medicines for patients with life-threatening diseases. RA invested $10 million in New Equilibrium Biosciences.

Based in Cambridge, Mass., New Equilibrium is utilizing rational drug design against intrinsically disordered proteins. Dysregulation of IDPs causes cancer, neurodegeneration and other diseases. The company’s platform reveals previously undetectable opportunities for structure-based design by learning biophysics with AI.

Virginia founded New Equilibrium in 2019 with Peter Tompa, a professor of biochemistry at the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology and chair of the company’s scientific advisory board. Prior to New Equilibrium, Virginia led scientific collaborations at XtalPi and performed postdoctoral research in IDP biophysics at MIT.

Schultz-led Galvanize is acquired for a reported $1B

Galvanize, a venture-backed developer of governance, risk management and compliance software whose president and CEO Laurie Schultz, has been acquired for a reported $1 billion. Terms of Diligent Corp.’s purchase of Galvanize were not disclosed, but published reports put it at $1 billion. Galvanize is known to have only raised a $50 million round from Norwest Venture Partners in 2017.

Galvanize is used by more than 6,300 organizations in 130 countries. In purchasing Galvanize, Diligent said it became the world’s largest governance, risk and compliance SaaS company with 1 million users and 1,500 employees.

Laurie joined Galvanize – then known as ACL Services, Ltd. in 2011 after holding leadership roles with Sage, Intuit, KPMG and TELUS.

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