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Funding / Health / Startups

Money Moves: Thoro.ai and CytoAgents raised millions while Krystal Biotech earned FDA approval

CytoAgents also received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to begin the next phase of its clinical trial to treat CRS.

Thoro.ai's Nilfisk Liberty SC50 Autonomous Scrubber. (Courtesy Carnegie Robotics)
Money Moves is a column where we chart the funding raises of tech companies across the region. Have a tip? Email us at pittsburgh@technical.ly.

Thoro.ai raised $7 million

Thoro.ai, a Carnegie Robotics spinout that uses autonomous robotics for cleaning and disinfection applications, recently raised $7 million, per an SEC filing.

Since it was launched in 2020, the Lawrenceville-based company’s robots has gained a presence at Pittsburgh institutions such as PPG Paints Arena, Acrisure Stadium and even the Pittsburgh International Airport.

CEO Patrick Mondi did not immediately respond to Technical.ly’s requests for comments on the raise. Mondi told the Pittsburgh Business Times the funding would be put toward expanding the business and adding members to the company’s team. (So, keep an eye on Thoro if you’re in the market for a new job.)

“Our focus is on building great products and continuing to grow the team,” he told the Times. “The team has grown a lot; this will give us resources to continue to compete and to continue to develop our tech and to continue to scale in the marketplace. We’re excited about that.”

CytoAgents raised $7 million

CytoAgents, a life sciences company developing a drug designed to treat cytokine release syndrome (CRS), recently raised $7 million, too, according to an SEC filing.

CRS occurs when a person’s immune system responds to infection or immunotherapy drugs “more aggressively than it should.” It can impact cancer patients receiving cell therapy, individuals with autoimmune conditions, those who’ve experienced traumatic brain injuries, and COVID-19 patients.

This month, CytoAgents also received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to begin the next phase of its clinical trial to treat CRS in lymphoma patients receiving CAR T-cell therapy.

The company didn’t disclose to Technical.ly how it pursued the recent funding and what it would be used for, though a press release includes a quote from Brian Shanahan, managing partner at Downtown Pittsburgh-based PCG Capital. According to the announcement, at least some of the funding — referred to as its second equity round of financing — will be put toward supporting the clinical trials, launching this summer.

“CytoAgents has a clear path forward and a team ready to execute,” Shanahan said. “We are excited to support the acceleration of CytoAgents’ clinical development efforts and look forward to generating meaningful clinical data in patients.”

Krystal Biotech gets FDA approval

CytoAgents wasn’t alone in getting good news from the FDA. Krystal Biotech, a South Side-based company focused on developing and commercializing genetic medicines for patients with rare diseases, received approval for a gene therapy to treat dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (DEB), a disease that causes skin to become prone to blistering and skin erosion.

Matt Smith, chief growth officer at the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, called the company’s FDA approval a “medical breakthrough and coveted achievement” in an announcement of the news, and referred to is as the first-ever approval for a redosable gene therapy.

Krystal Biotech’s leaders feel the approval signifies a step forward in treating genetic diseases, and a sign that the company itself is capable of developing and commercializing therapies for patients with rare diseases.

“We offer our sincere gratitude to DEB patients, caregivers, investigators, US regulators, and our employees who made this approval possible,” CEO and chairman Krish Krishnan said. “For Krystal, this is a transformative achievement that highlights our commitment to developing and commercializing novel therapies for patients with rare diseases and demonstrates Krystal’s capability as a fully-integrated company ready to launch and bring VYJUVEK to patients as quickly as possible and deliver additional transformative medicines to patients as we advance our pipeline.”

Atiya Irvin-Mitchell 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 Heinz Endowments.
Companies: Thoro.ai / Krystal Biotech / CytoAgents
Series: Money Moves

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