Finance / Funding / Science / Venture capital

Money Moves: Century Therapeutics made a $150M deal with Bristol Myers Squibb

The publicly traded, University City-based company will develop up to four cell therapies. Plus, check out new investments for the Center for Breakthrough Medicines, CareAlign and software company Staircase.

Attention, life sciences sector. (Photo by Pexels user Polina Tankilevitch, used under a Creative Commons license)

Money Moves is a column where we chart the funding raises of tech companies across the region. Have a tip? Email us at

University City-based cell therapy company Century Therapeutics has entered into a $150 million partnership with Bristol Myers Squibb, the companies announced this week.

The research collaboration and license agreement is to develop and commercialize up to four therapies for hematologic malignancies and solid tumors. The deal’s terms include a $100 million upfront payment to Century Therapeutics and a $50 million equity investment in the company, the statement said.

As outlined in the deal, Century will be responsible for development candidate discovery and preclinical development activities, while Bristol Myers Squibb will be responsible for clinical development and commercialization activities. The publicly traded Philly company last year signed a 32,000-square-foot lease to expand its business.

The $50 million equity investment in Century Therapeutics is at a price of $23.14 per share, the companies said. Century will receive reimbursement for some preclinical development costs for development and is eligible for additional payments for future program initiations and development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments, potentially totaling $3 billion, they said.

“The collaboration with Century Therapeutics is an important part of our investment strategy in next-generation cell therapies for hematologic and solid tumors,” said Rupert Vessey, EVP and president of research and early development at Bristol Myers Squibb, in a statement.

3675 Market St., where Century Therapeutics is headquartered. (Photo by Julie Zeglen)

Center for Breakthrough Medicines gets $350 million

King of Prussia’s Center for Breakthrough Medicines announced this week it had received $350 million in equity financing from South Korea-based Sk Inc. The investment will go toward enhancing its pre-clinical through commercial manufacturing capabilities, as well as work on integrating process development, viral vector manufacturing, cell processing, plasmid DNA, cell banking, and a full suite of complementary analytical development and testing capabilities, the Center said in a release.

Chairman Brian O’Neill said the Center partnered with SK because of a shared “deep desire to cure cancer and eradicate genetic disease.” The investment will also go toward enabling strategic joint ventures, sponsored research agreements and development of proprietary technology platforms toward that goal.

“Thousands of people are dying every day, and we have the ability to cure patients by manufacturing these new technologies,” O’Neill said. “This unprecedented collaboration will allow us to bring over 700,000 square feet of capacity online, and hire 2,000 of the world’s most brilliant, advanced therapy experts, all at the Discovery Labs site in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.”

Staircase closed a Series A

Staircase, a mortgage tech startup founded in 2019, announced last month that it had raised an $18 million Series A led by prominent Silicon Valley fund Bessemer Venture Partners. Other participating investors were Avid Ventures, Clocktower Technology Ventures, Metaprop Ventures, RRE Ventures and Zigg Capital, as well as a collection of angel investors.

Soofi Safavi. (Photo via LinkedIn)

The company’s API marketplace serves the mortgage industry, and can be used by those involved in the manufacturing, selling and servicing of mortgage loans. It allows users to add or remove integrations to partners and vendors, depending on their needs. Overall, it aims to create a better and faster borrower and lender experience.

The company is fully distributed and has employees in nearly 20 countries, but cofounder and CTO Soofi Safavi, who worked for years in app development at JPMorgan Chase, is based in here in Philly. TechCrunch reported that the company’s $18 million Series A brings its funding since 2020 up to $24 million.

“After getting to know Staircase since the company’s formation and working with early customers, we were excited to back them in this journey to help finally bring among the slowest movement segments of the financial services landscape into the cloud by making it easier to access modern solutions without completely replacing legacy systems,” Charles Birnbaum, partner at Bessemer told the outlet.

CareAlign closed a seed extension round

University of Pennsylvania spinout CareAlign, formerly known as TrekIt Health, closed a $2.3 million seed extension round in November. The investment comes form Hofmann Associates, Gaingels and Harvard Angels

When we checked in with the 2021 RealLIST Startups honoree late last year, the healthtech company had hired James Green as its chief operating officer and gained some traction in a few extra use cases like in skilled nursing facilities, population health organizations and accountable care organizations, a company spokesperson said. Since it launched, the company has raised about $4.5 million, and at the end of 2021, venture capital was planned to be used for some hiring and to improve its platform.

“For many years the focus of technology innovation in healthcare settings has been on billing, coding, and improving the patient experience. These are certainly important areas, but it neglects the needs of clinicians and hasn’t eliminated many of the impediments they face when collaborating with their peers,” CEO Subha Airan-Javia said in a release. “It’s our goal to holistically improve the workflow, and we’re backed by investors who have the knowledge and experience to help drive change across the healthcare industry.”

Companies: Center for Breakthrough Medicines / CareAlign

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