Empirico scores $660M deal with Ionis and lands a series A-2 fundraiser
BIOWORLD—It’s a big day for privately held Empirico Inc. as it embarks on a massive combo pharma deal with Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc. while racking up a $12.5 million series A-2 financing.
In the collaboration, Empirico will identify the targets and Ionis can advance as many as 10 of them. The two companies plan to use human genetics data in their efforts with programs Ionis already has in the works, and that includes target validation, the indication and biomarker selection, and patient stratification.
In the three-year collaboration, Ionis made a $10 million equity investment in Empirico, with near-term commitments of as much as $30 million, based on operational and preclinical milestones. Empirico could receive more than $620 million by achieving clinical development, regulatory and commercial milestones, plus royalties on net sales.
Empirico gets the option to license, develop and commercialize an Ionis development candidate directed toward a collaboration target. Ionis will receive milestone payments and royalties on net sales based on that target.
At the heart of the collaboration is Empirico’s platform, designed to interpret the role of genes and proteins, then search for interventional strategies. The technology uses human genetics, data science and programmable biology. It has had multiple iterations since the company’s founding in a little more than two years ago, when management’s goal was to build a next-generation therapeutics company from the ground up. That meant spending a good amount of time building the platform, validating its approach and accumulating proof of concept data…