A biopharmaceutical company that grew out of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center research in Dallas is attracting another $80 million in funding led by some of Big Pharma’s biggest names.
ReCode Therapeutics, which has operations in Dallas and Menlo Park, Calif., announced the investment Thursday that was led by Pfizer’s venture capital unit and San Francisco-based EcoR1 Capital, a prolific investor in commercializing medical research.
It’s the second $80 million funding round for ReCode, which launched in 2015 to develop nonviral lipid nanoparticles as a way to treat respiratory diseases such as cystic fibrosis and primary ciliary dyskinesia. LNPs can deliver drug therapies to a specific organ.
ReCode began as a UTSW research project by company cofounders Daniel Siegwart, Philip Thomas and Michael Torres. In 2020, the company secured $80 million in investment and merged with California-based TranscripTx, which was working on messenger RNA therapies for pulmonary diseases.
The new capital will help push ReCode’s lead primary ciliary dyskinesia and cystic fibrosis program into human clinical studies, expand its pipeline of respiratory disease treatments and advance its LNP platform. It will also go toward building a pilot manufacturing site.
“ReCode is working to unleash the power of genetic medicine by delivering therapies with our novel LNP platform, which has the potential to reach across a broad spectrum of diseases involving multiple organs and tissues,” CEO David Lockhart said in a statement.
In connection with the closing of the financing, Rana Al-Hallaq, a partner at Pfizer Ventures and executive director for Pfizer Worldwide Business Development, joined the ReCode board of directors. Oleg Nodelman, founder and portfolio manager of EcoR1 Capital, also took a seat on the board.
“ReCode’s platform has the potential to unlock vast capabilities unaddressable by first-generation mRNA and gene-editing programs and enable development of therapeutics for patients with diseases that have historically been untreatable,” Nodelman said.
Other investors in the funding round are Sanofi Ventures, funds managed by Tekla Capital Management, Superstring Capital and NS Investment. Existing investors also participated, including OrbiMed, Vida Ventures, MPM Capital, Colt Ventures, Hunt Technology Ventures and Osage University Partners.
It’s the latest win for Dallas-Fort Worth’s growing biotech sector and continues a steady stream of venture money flowing to North Texas startups in recent weeks. Other companies receiving investments include:
- $30 million in growth funding for SeaLights, a Dallas-based developer of a software quality governance platform. The investment was led by Red Dot Capital Partners and included new backers Deutsche Bank, Translink Capital, Shasta Ventures and existing investors Blumberg Capital, Cisco Investments, TLV Partners and Wipro Ventures. It raises SeaLights’ total funding to $50 million.
- $18.5 million in funding for Plano-based AmplifAI, a tech firm that produces software to help optimize call centers. The funding was led by Greycroft, along with continued participation by LiveOak Venture Partners, Dallas Venture Partners and Capital Factory. It has raised $22.4 million since 2019.
- $3.5 million in seed funding for CollateralEdge, a Dallas fintech company with a risk-mitigation tool to assist banks in increasing lending capacity without compromising credit quality. Its investors include prominent Dallas venture firm Perot Jain, along with Kneeland Youngblood, founding partner of Pharos Capital Group; Sheldon Stein, president of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits; Derek Alley, CEO of VCC Construction, and Capital Factory CEO Josh Baer.
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