A biotech focused on developing drugs to treat genetic diseases just raised $US135 million.
BridgeBio Pharma, which was founded in 2015, builds out subsidiary companies around different inherited genetic diseases.
BridgeBio CEO Neil Kumar told Business Insider that the intention of the company is to fill in a “gap” in funding that can exist for early-stage therapies that haven’t made it to human trials just yet that need a smaller investment than the massive amounts of venture capital firms often spend on later-stage drugs that do need that capital.
For example, BridgeBio has funded subsidiary companies working in everything from skin conditions to inherited heart disorders. Of the 10 drugs BridgeBio has listed on its website, only two are in later stage clinical trials.
The subsidiary approach to developing a pharmaceutical company is a bit different from the traditional biotech startup, which tend to revolve around a disease area or a certain technology, like the gene-editing tool CRISPR. It’s similar to Roivant, a company that hopes to bring new life to drugs that have been put on the shelf by other companies that raised $US1.1 billion in August. The two companies both are connected to MIT professor Andrew Lo: he co-founded BridgeBio and is an independent director for Roivant.
“Modern drug discovery requires modern business infrastructure,” Lo said in a news release. “Despite the terrific scientific innovations we’ve seen in biomedicine, there’s been much less innovation on the corporate side. BridgeBio employs a novel structure that combines portfolio diversification with asset-level focus to sustainably develop drugs for genetic disease.”
Kumar said the funding from this round will be used for funding these farther-along clinical trials, as well as adding more programs to BridgeBio’s portfolio.