Baltimore / Biotechnology / Events / Funding / Investing

Money Moves: It’s a big investment week for Frederick companies

Plus, a group of Maryland investors back a pair of biotech deals.

Frederick, Maryland. (Courtesy photo)

This week, a pair of Frederick companies raised millions in new investment, offering evidence of the Maryland city’s growing role as one of the region’s tech hubs. Check out the specifics on those companies and more:

Vita Therapeutics raised $32 million in a Series A round.

Johns Hopkins-born cell engineering company Vita Therapeutics earned a place on the state’s list of companies to watch last year. Now the Baltimore-based company has a sizable round of investment capital closed to move forward.

Vita’s Series A round, announced Wednesday, was oversubscribed and closed at $32 million. Led by New York-based biotech company Cambrian Biopharma, the round also included participation from Kiwoom Bio, SCM Life Sciences and Baltimore-based Early Light Ventures.

Founded in 2018 by Douglas Falk and Peter Andersen, the company is developing cell therapies, in which viable cells from a patient or donor are used to treat disease for patients with muscular dystrophies and other unmet medical needs. The company’s lead therapy is a treatment for limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, which causes weakness and wasting of muscles in the shoulders, upper arms, pelvic area and thighs. With the funding, it will complete studies designed to prepare for an application for Investigational New Drug status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Veralox Therapeutics raised $16 million in a Series A.

Frederick-based biotech company Veralox Therapeutics got backing from a group of investors in Maryland and beyond for its recently closed $16 million Series A round.

The investors in the round include Sanofi Ventures, Genesys Capital, Hatteras Venture Partners, JDRF T1D Fund, Point Field Partners (the venture fund of Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti), VTC Innovation Fund, University System of Maryland’s Momentum Fund, and Maryland early-stage investment and support agency TEDCO.

Veralox is developing small-molecule therapeutics to treat the underlying cause of diseases. It is seeking approval for a clinical trial from the FDA for a new treatment of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia, a condition that can lead to low platelet counts in blood. It has already received the FDA’s Orphan Drug Designation for this treatment.

Founded in 2017, the company was founded by Drs. Jeffrey StrovelDavid Maloney and Matthew Boxer. The lead candidate, called VLX-1005, was developed with the University of California Santa Cruz, Thomas Jefferson University, NIH and Eastern Virginia Medical School.

The company previously raised a seed round of $5.4 million from several of the same investors, including TEDCO and the Maryland Momentum Fund.

Event technology company MeetingPlay raised $75 million.

Hybrid events are coming as the world opens back up from the pandemic, and Frederick-based MeetingPlay received a $75 million growth equity investment from private equity firm Sunstone Partners to fuel a growth strategy along with it.

The nine-year-old company’s software offerings for meetings, events and conferences are geared toward attendee engagement. The technology can be used during a hybrid, virtual or in-person event.

“Even with unprecedented YOY growth, we’re just getting started,” said MeetingPlay Co-CEO Joe Schwinger, who leads the company alongside Lisa Vann, in a statement. “Sunstone’s investment strategy, which puts people and innovation first, will help us grow our product offerings and enable our customers to deliver even more exciting, on-brand and transformative events.”

Mirus Capital Advisors served as exclusive financial advisor to MeetingPlay on the investment Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP acted as Sunstone’s legal counsel.

Companies: University System of Maryland / TEDCO

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