Adagio Therapeutics announced on Monday that it has raised $336 million in additional funding to rapidly advance its COVID-19 antibody therapy to treat and prevent the disease, caused by the coronavirus, as well as illness resulting from new variants.
Last week, the Waltham biotech began recruitment for a global clinical trial to test the drug’s efficacy as a treatment for high-risk individuals with mild or moderate COVID-19. The goal: to determine whether a single intramuscular dose could prevent hospitalization and death.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a major health crisis worldwide, and even with emergency use authorizations for vaccines and antibody-based therapies, there remains a significant need for medications to treat and prevent COVID-19 infection,” said Tillman Gerngross, cofounder and chief executive of Adagio, in a press release.
Gerngross said the funding will support the expedited development and commercialization of the antibody treatment.
The financing is sizable, compared to the biotech’s last two rounds, and a big bet on a company that is less than a year old. Adagio was spun out of the New Hampshire biotech Adimab in July 2020 with $50 million and raised another $80 million in November.
Adagio said it plans to report early results from its global trial by the end of the year and has already secured the manufacturing capacity it would need for a potential commercial launch.
Antibody treatments are based on lab-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off viruses. Several companies are developing these treatments, including Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Regeneron, of New York. Adagio said its lead candidate stands out because of its ability to fight a broad range of variants with high potency, and only one dose is required. Lilly and Regeneron have developed antibody “cocktails,” which combine antibody treatments.
The funding round was led by Boston-based RA Capital Management, with participation from new investors including Redmile Group, Federated Hermes, Foresite Capital, ArrowMark Partners, and PremjiInvest. Previous investors Fidelity Management & Research Co., OrbiMed, Polaris Partners, Mithril, GV, Population Health Partners, Adimab, and Omega Funds also participated.
Daphne Zohar, the founder and chief executive of PureTech Health in Boston, which is not involved with Adagio, said that Gerngross is a “successful serial entrepreneur,” so the “size of the round and the blue chip syndicate of investors are not surprising.”
“We’ll not only need these antibodies to treat patients and keep them out of hospitals, but to passively vaccinate the millions of patients who don’t mount a strong enough response to available vaccines,” said Peter Kolchinsky, managing partner of RA Capital, in a statement referring to Adagio’s treatment. “That’s going to take large-scale manufacturing, and it makes sense to put those resources towards the best antibodies.”