Aura Biosciences, a Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech company developing therapies for rare cancers, secured a $21M Series B round of funding.
The round was led by Advent Life Sciences, with participation from new investors Chiesi Ventures, Ysios Capital, and Alexandria Venture Investments and existing investors LI-COR Biosciences and Henri Termeer, former Chief Executive Officer of Genzyme. In conjunction with the financing, Dale Pfost, General Partner at Advent Life Sciences, Art Pappas, CEO of A.M. Pappas & Associates, and Joël Jean-Mairet, Managing Partner at Ysios Capital, will join Aura’s Board of Directors. Current Board member Alan Walts, former head of Genzyme Ventures, will become Executive Chairman. In addition, Alison Lawton, former Genzyme executive and former COO of OvaScience, will be appointed as Chief Operating Officer.
The company intends to use the funds to advance its novel therapies into clinical trials for the treatment of rare cancers of the eye, and to further develop for additional cancer indications its technology that was developed in partnership with Dr. John Schiller at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Led by Elisabet de los Pinos, founder and CEO, Aura Biosciences has developed a platform based on viral nanoparticles, a new class of drugs that harness the potential of a unique cell targeting for the treatment of cancer. The company’s lead product incorporates a viral nanoparticle conjugated with a cell-killing laser-activated molecule (IRDye 700DX, LI-COR Biosciences) that is delivered selectively to cancerous cells, reducing or eliminating the risk of non-specific activity and/or undesirable toxicity.