This morning, Beta Bionics announced that it has secured an initial $50 million in Series B equity financing. The round was led by Eventide Asset Management, with participation from institutional investor, RTW Investments, and strategic partner/Series A investor, Novo Nordisk. Both Eventide and RTW have many healthcare investments, though appear new to diabetes (more below). Glucagon partner Zealand Pharma previously committed $5 million to Beta Bionics’s Series B, which was announced in December 2017.
We’re very glad to see Novo Nordisk investing in Beta Bionics, and the tight partnership certainly shows – the ongoing bridging studies are using Novo Nordisk’s Fiasp insulin in the prefilled PumpCart (!), a very big win and the first company to do so. (Kelly is in this trial now and says the PumpCart seems very cool.) The amount overall of course is a footnote to Novo Nordisk’s overall investments. Notably, Lilly did not participate in this round, though it does hold a Board seat following its previous 2016 investment.
This is Beta Bionics's biggest financing round to date, by far, and we assume it will take the company well into its pivotal trials and perhaps beyond. Previously, the public benefit corporation raised $5 million each from Lilly and Novo Nordisk – unprecedented to raise money from both insulin manufacturers! The NIH also awarded the Damiano Lab at Boston University a $13.5 million UC4 grant to support the Bionic Pancreas pivotal trials. Beta Bionics also raised $1 million from a very novel crowdfunding campaign.
Beta Bionics confirmed that pivotal timing shared at Friends for Life is unchanged: (i) an insulin-only pivotal study to begin in 2H19, with FDA approval expected in 2H20 (pediatrics and adults); and (ii) a bihormonal pivotal study to start in late 2019/early 2020, with approval targeted for 2022 (depending on FDA CDER guidance on dasiglucagon). Home-use insulin-only bridging studies with the integrated Gen 3 iLet device are currently underway at MGH and Stanford, with the Dexcom CGM being used by the Stanford cohort, and the Senseonics Eversense CGM being used by the MGH cohort. The pivotal studies will use the improved Gen 4 iLet, which we saw in person at Friends for Life in July.
We have been impressed with Beta Bionics commitment to interoperability and patient choice, as it’s the only closed-loop system compatible with two companies’ CGMs (the Dexcom G6 and the Senseonics’ Eversense), and plans for single hormone, dual hormone, and three different insulins (Fiasp, Humalog, Novolog), if all goes well.
Eventide was founded in 2008 with a vision to provide high performance, value-based investments that are socially responsible. Eventide’s healthcare fund does not appear to have any diabetes investments, though it has investments in precision medicine, cancer, neuromuscular disease, gene therapy, rare/orphan diseases, etc.
RTW Investments focuses on innovative medicines and includes an investment portfolio somewhat similar to Eventide – mostly focused on cancer, gene therapy, and rare diseases. Beta Bionics appears to be its first diabetes investment.
--by Adam Brown and Kelly Close