The good times continue to roll for Odyssey Therapeutics.
Last year, the Boston-based biotech secured a $218 million Series A financing round. Earlier this month, Odyssey announced that it raised $168 million in an oversubscribed Series B financing round. New investors include Fidelity Management & Research Company and The Healthcare Innovation Investment Fund, an investment fund associated with SVB Securities, as well as Series A investors like Foresite Capital and HBM Healthcare Investments, among others.
The funding effort was led by General Catalyst and seeks to boost the company’s precision immunomodulators and oncology medicines.
Odyssey CEO Gary Glick said the company is aiming to use the additional capital to advance its pipeline of small molecule and protein therapeutics as well as support its drug discovery capabilities. He added that securing years’ worth of funding is increasingly critical in the biotech industry.
“This funding round allows us to accelerate the pace of what we’re doing here, both with our small molecule and protein therapeutics discovery and development work,” he said. “Most importantly, it provides us at least three years of runway to move forward and get to the clinic, and do so in a way that we don’t have to worry about additional capital.”
Odyssey, which barely existed a year ago, began targeting unmet medical needs through precision medicines for patients, Glick said. Now, the company is only working on things that have large market indications, he said, including products that have multibillion-dollar or at least $1 billion dollar potential.
He said Odyssey is also pursuing early target discovery, supported by research and development, before moving into clinical development.
Though the company has plenty of funding, Glick said Odyssey is considering several different options in the future, including partnerships that could provide additional non-equity capital and further extend the company’s runway.
Glick, who is an industry veteran and has led companies through several broader economic downturns, said the biotech space has changed in recent years due to a host of factors related to healthcare finance.
According to data from Crunchbase, biotech funding dropped 38.6% between 2021 and 2022. Additionally, only 660 startups received funding through the first seven months of the year, compared to more than 1,000 during the same period in 2021.
Glick said that for nearly a decade leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a lot more money to “be put to work” in the biotech sector. Glick also noted that the number of deals was relatively small compared to the amount of money in the market, but that there was a pattern at play.
Leaders could start a company, bolster it with a sizable Series A round and a good syndicate of investors, advance a product to the clinic, conduct a crossover round and follow it up with an IPO, he said. This trend was “working until it stopped working,” he noted, as the industry continues to find its footing in a post-COVID world.
“Obviously, there was a lot of money put to work during the COVID time and biotech was in favor as a lot more generalists were coming on,” he said. “People sort of forgot about the fundamentals, which is a business of making products for patients that change their lives, and do so in a way that all stakeholders can benefit.”