Funding / Health / Life sciences / Startups

Philly Money Moves: Dr. Carl June won the prestigious $3M Breakthrough Prize

Plus, Audubon's Globus Medical completed a merger, Plymouth Meeting's Harmony Biosciences acquired Devon's Zynerba, and more funding news.

Dr. Carl June. (Photo by Gerbil via Wikimedia Commons, used under a Creative Commons license; image has been cropped)
Money Moves is a column where we chart the raises, mergers and other funding news of tech companies across the region on the third Wednesday of the month. Have a tip? Email us at .

Dr. Carl June, a University of Pennsylvania oncologist and researcher, was awarded $3 million through the 2024 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for the development of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell immunotherapy. Breakthrough is known as the world’s largest science prize.

June is well known in the cell and gene therapy world for the development of Kymriah, the first CAR T-cell therapy for advanced blood cancer. This was the first CAR T-cell therapy approved by the FDA.

He is the sixth Breakthrough Prize winner from Penn, where he is a professor in the Perelman School of Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center.

“Dr. June’s tireless commitment to advancing T cell immunotherapy research has been life-changing for many patients affected by cancer, who have lived longer, fuller lives, thanks to the discoveries made in his lab,” said J. Larry Jameson, dean of the Perelman School of Medicine, in a written statement. “We are proud to see one of Penn’s most esteemed scientists recognized for the impact of his foundational work to develop a new class of cancer immunotherapy treatment.”

June also founded the company BlueWhale Bio which recently came out of stealth mode and raised $18 million.

Globus Medical merges with Nuvasive

Audubon-based Globus Medical, a health technology company focused on musculoskeletal solutions, announced its completed merger with California-based medical devices company Nuvasive.

This merger brings together both companies’ networks and orthopedics portfolios. The missions of both companies align in terms of product development and surgeon education as well, their leaders said.

“We’re thrilled to begin our journey together to create a leading global musculoskeletal company,” said Dan Scavilla, president and CEO of Globus Medical, in a written statement. “With a relentless focus on changing patient lives, we’re combining our differentiated portfolios and talented teams to reach more customers as we advance spine and orthopedic care globally.”

Globus Medical also expanded its board of directors from eight to 11 members in connection to this merger. John DeFord, Leslie V. Norwalk and Daniel J. Wolterman were previously on Nuvasive’s board and are now members of Globus Medica’s board.

Harmony Biosciences acquires Zynerba

Plymouth Meeting-based Harmony Biosciences announced last month that it acquired Devon-based Zynerba Pharmaceuticals.

Harmony, a company that develops therapies for neurological diseases, acquired “all outstanding shares of Zynerba for a purchase price of $1.1059 per share in cash, or $60 million in the aggregate, plus one non-tradeable contingent value right (CVR) per share.”

Armando Anido, chairman and CEO of Zynerba, said Harmony’s technology and expertise fit well with Zynerba: Harmony’s resources set Zynerba’s product Zygel, a pharmaceutical product that treats the neurological disease Fragile X syndrome, up for success on the market.

“This is an important step in Harmony’s strategy to build a diversified portfolio of innovative assets to address unmet medical needs and drive our long-term growth,” said Jeffrey M. Dayno, M.D., president and CEO of Harmony Biosciences, in a written statement. “This acquisition affords us the opportunity to advance the development and delivery of a potentially transformative treatment for the symptoms of Fragile X syndrome and other rare neuropsychiatric disorders.”

More Money Moves also spotted these raises:

  • Chesterbrook-based biopharmaceutical company Trevena received a $15 million tranche through royalty-based financing.
  • Agtech company and Penn spinout Treeswift raised $10 million, according to an SEC filing.
  • Penn-affiliated medtech company RheoTek Medical raised $1 million, according to an SEC filing.
Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
Companies: University of Pennsylvania
Series: Money Moves

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