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Solid Biosciences, a Cambridge, Mass.-based drug developer focused on Duchenne muscular dystrophy, has raised $50 million in Series C funding. RA Capital Management and Bain Capital Life Sciences co-led the round, and were joined by RTW Investments, Foresite Capital, Cormorant Asset Management and return backers Perceptive Advisors, Janus Capital Management and Biogen. The company was founded by a former J.P. Morgan banker, after his son was diagnosed with DMD.
- Why it's the BFD: DMD is a fairly rare genetic disorder, reportedly affecting around 1 out of every 3,500 young boys in the U.S., but that hasn't slowed down the pharma interest. In addition to Solid Biosciences, there has been work by both Sarepta Therapeutics (Nasdaq: SRPT) and Marathon Pharma. If that last one sounds familiar, that's because Marathon is a PE-backed company accused of price-gouging on its DMD drug (we discussed it here). Within the past few weeks, Marathon agreed to sell the drug to PTC Therapeutics (Nasdaq: PTCT) for a reported $140 million in cash and stock.
- Bottom line: "Gene therapy—a method of using a virus to shepherd genetic instructions into the body—has been tried for Duchenne before, though never successfully. But Solid's program is one of a new group of emerging gene therapy and gene editing programs being advanced by academic groups, startups, and larger companies." ― Ben Fidler
Venture Capital Deals
Private Equity Deals
• Blue Apron, a New York-based meal kit subscription service, has picked Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup as IPO bankers, according to Reuters. The company has been valued at $2 billion by venture capitalists, and reportedly generated around $750 million in 2016 revenue. http://reut.rs/2nONVl0
• LongVue Capital, a New Orleans-based lower middle-market private equity firm, has closed its third fund with $252 million in capital commitments. www.lvcpartners.com
• DW Healthcare Partners, a Toronto-based VC firm focused on the healthcare industry, has closed its fourth fund with US$295 million in capital commitments. www.dwhp.com
• Panasonic Corp. (Tokyo: 6752) has formed a California-based VC arm that will focus on U.S. tech startups. Its initial commitment to Panasonic Ventures is around $100 million. www.panasonic.com
• Rivendell Partners is launching as a Hong Kong-based mid-market buyout firm focused on China and Vietnam, according to Bloomberg. Principals include managing partner Alex Ying, a former managing director with The Carlyle Group and COO Carl Harris, formerly with Spire Global and Everstone Group. https://bloom.bg/2mR0UmK
• Triton Partners, a Northern Europe-focused private equity firm, is raising up to €500 million for an open-ended fund that would take minority positions in publicly-listed companies, according to Private Equity International. http://bit.ly/2nmSI9X
• Effie Epstein has joined Sound Ventures, the VC firm co-founded by Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary, as managing partner and COO. She previously led global strategy at Marsh, a unit of Marsh & McLennan (NYSE: MMC). http://tcrn.ch/2oyxsOM
• Andrew Huang is stepping down as a managing director with Goldman Sachs, where he focused on China M&A, in order to join Chinese private equity firm FountainVest Partners, according to Bloomberg. https://bloom.bg/2mR0UmK