Orbital Therapeutics – a company that is focused on enhancing global health by unleashing the full potential of RNA medicines to treat human disease – announced the successful closing of $270 million Series A financing. The Series A funding round was led by ARCH Venture Partners, with participation from initial investors a16z Bio + Health and Newpath Partners, and new investors Abu Dhabi Growth Fund (ADG), Redmile Group, Exor N.V., Invus, Moore Strategic Ventures, iGlobe Platinum Fund Group, Casdin Capital, Agent Capital, Alexandria Venture Investments, Rellim Capital Management, Heritage Medical Systems, and other undisclosed investors.
Orbital Therapeutics is aiming to expand the applicability of RNA-based medicines across a range of human diseases, including in the areas of next-generation vaccines, immunomodulation, and protein replacement. And the company is building a first-in-kind RNA platform that integrates both established and emerging RNA technologies and delivery mechanisms. This platform was designed to extend the durability of Orbital’s novel RNA therapeutics, while also expanding their delivery to a wide range of cell types and tissues.
Along with financing, Orbital announced the expansion of its leadership team with the appointments of Niru Subramanian as chief operating officer and Jonathan Piazza as the chief financial officer, who join Gilles Besin, Ph.D., chief scientific officer, and Dr. Ciaramella on the company’s executive leadership team.
Subramanian brings 25 years of business and corporate development experience, including building new strategies and capabilities for high-growth organizations, leading multifunctional teams, managing partnerships and M&A transactions, and directing portfolio planning, alliance management, finance and operations. And Subramanian most recently served as chief operating officer at Rheos Medicines, and prior to that, was senior vice president, corporate development & business planning at Agios Pharmaceuticals, where she led several key initiatives including the $2 billion sale of Agios’ oncology business in December 2020. Earlier, Subramanian held several roles at Novartis Vaccines, including as vice president, head of Influenza Global Programs and at Novartis as vice president, Vaccines Business transition lead following the divestment of the business unit. Earlier in her career, she worked at The Boston Consulting Group in their healthcare practice area advising large and small biopharma companies on a variety of strategic and operational issues. Subramanian received a BS in computer science and engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Piazza is a seasoned biotech executive and finance professional with more than 20 years of experience in biotech, healthcare investment banking, finance, and large pharma roles. He most recently served as CFO of Silverback Therapeutics and helped orchestrate its IPO, and later its reverse merger with ARS Pharma. As a healthcare banker at Goldman Sachs, Barclays Capital, and Lehman Brothers, Piazza has advised on approximately $100 billion in biopharma and life sciences financing and strategic transactions across both large and small companies. Previously, Piazza was a financial advisor at Smith Barney (now Morgan Stanley Smith Barney), and prior to that, he worked in engineering, development, and international marketing disciplines at Abbott Laboratories across multiple divisions of the company. Piazza earned a BS in chemical engineering from The Ohio State University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley.
“In recent years, we have only just started to see the expansive potential RNA-based therapeutics may offer to the future of medicine and how we treat disease. Since our founding, we have been diligently focused on advancing our platform of RNA technologies to elucidate the most promising opportunities with our initial programs so we may reach patients as efficiently as possible. We are thrilled to have the backing of such an exceptional group of investors, whose support further enables the growth of our organization and the meaningful expansion of our platform and portfolio.”
— Giuseppe Ciaramella, Ph.D., Orbital co-founder and CEO
“Few companies can possess the know-how, technology and biologic insights to deliver on the full breadth of opportunity that RNA medicines could provide for patients. Orbital was founded and has been built to be that special company. We are pleased to partner with Orbital’s team of industry leaders and visionaries in drug development to help them achieve a bold mission of bringing forward the next generation of RNA-based medicines.”
— Kristina Burow, managing partner at ARCH Venture Partners, co-founder and board director of Orbital
“Key to our long-term success is having a team that not only brings experience, but also passion and drive for the work we are doing. Niru has an extensive background in driving corporate strategy and portfolio development for successful biotech and pharmaceutical companies, which is complemented by Jonathan’s successful history of leading financial organizations within the industry and guiding several strategic transactions while at top investment banks. Their collective expertise and dedication to create a company that can advance important new medicines for patients makes them ideal additions to our team, and they already have made tremendous early contributions to our company’s growth and capital raise. We are thrilled to have them on board.”
— Dr. Ciaramella