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Peter Thompson, co-founder and CEO of Silverback Therapeutics. (OrbiMed Advisors Photo)

Seattle biotech startup Silverback Therapeutics raised a $78.5 million investment round to support development of its therapies for cancer, fibrosis, and other conditions.

Founded in 2016, Silverback’s ImmunoTAC technology can deliver drugs systematically but only target parts of the body affected by disease. The approach could help prevent harmful side effects and make the therapies more effective.

Clinical investigation for the company’s lead candidate, SBT6050, is expected to begin this year.

U.S. Venture Partners led the Series B round, which included participation from new investors Nextech Invest Ltd., Hunt Investment Group, Pontifax Venture Capital, Colt Ventures LP and NS Investment. Existing backers also invested, including OrbiMed Advisors LLC, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, and Alexandria Venture Investments.

Total venture capital funding to date for Silverback is $125 million.

“We are pleased to attract a group of world-class investors who believe in our bold vision to develop potent immune-modulating agents that can be delivered systemically, but act locally at the site of disease,” Peter Thompson, co-founder, chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “With these additional resources, we’re focused on advancing our lead program into the clinic this year and progressing our preclinical pipeline assets towards the clinic.”

The science behind ImmunoTAC originated from the company’s co-founders, Thompson and Badreddin Edris, a geneticist who left Silverback Therapeutics in 2018 and is currently the chief business officer at SpringWorks Therapeutics.

Thompson took over as CEO in 2018 after previous chief Eric Dobmeier departed. Dobmeier is now CEO at Chinook Therapeutics.

Jonathan Root, general partner at USVP, and Thilo Schroeder, partner at Nextech Invest Ltd., joined Silverback’s board of directors as a result of the new funding.

Silverback is one of several biotech firms based in the Seattle region. Others include Adaptive Biotechnologies; Nohla Therapeutics; and Sana Biotechnology.

Bristol-Meyers Squibb has a long history in Seattle. It bought Seattle-based ZymoGenetics a decade ago, and this past November it scooped up Celgene, which acquired Seattle-based Juno Therapeutics in 2018.

Alexandria Real Estate Equities, the real estate arm of Alexandria, last year reached an agreement with the city of Seattle to buy the Mercer Mega Block, a trio of development sites that lie between Amazon’s campus and the cluster of life sciences institutions around Lake Union.

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