This example demonstrates the impact of BioGenerator’s pre-investment Grants program, coupled with its approach of bringing experienced industry scientists to repeat and extend promising academic research.
Disarm Therapeutics was founded based on discoveries made by Washington University professors Jeffrey Milbrandt and Aaron DiAntonio. The company is developing therapeutics to treat patients with neurological diseases by preventing axonal degeneration. Before the company was formed, BioGenerator supported the academic founders with pre-investment funding, advice, and introductions. Disarm has raised a $30M Series A.
BioGenerator provided pre-company funding from its Grants program, leveraging the experienced pharma scientists in its portfolio company, Confluence Discovery Technologies, to repeat and extend the original academic work, develop and validate a high throughput assay, and complete initial medicinal chemistry PoC. Collectively, this work was important validation of the novel target discovered by the founders. The industry scientists hired by BioGenerator had multiple meetings with the Series A investors, where they presented their results as an important part of the due diligence process. BioGenerator introduced the academic inventors to Rajesh Devraj of Atlas Ventures, who went on to co-found Disarm and now serves as its Chief Scientific Officer. Throughout negotiations with venture funds, BioGenerator provide advice and support to the founders regarding valuation and other key deal terms.
In September of 2017, Disarm announced a $30M Series A financing, with follow-on investment from Atlas, and new participation from Lightstone Ventures and AbbVie Ventures. In 2020, DiSARM was acquired by Lilly for up to $1.2B.