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Fundraising: Gene therapy firm targeting sickle cell anemia raises $60M

A Cambridge, Massachusetts gene therapy company, bluebird bio, targeting genetic disorders such as beta-thalassemia raises $60 million in series D financing.

Company name: bluebird bio.

Industry: Biotechnology.

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Product: Gene therapy to target sickle cell anemia, beta-thalassemia and childhood cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy

Money raised: $60 million in series D; at least $76 million in previous rounds based on press releases and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings

How it will be used: It will fund the initiation of phase 2/3 clinical trials of the therapy targeting childhood cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy in both U.S. and Europe in 2013. It will also support the start of a phase 1/2 clinical trial of the therapy to treat beta-thalassemia in 2013. Further, the money will be used to invest in manufacturing, clinical and commercial infrastructure to support the upcoming clinical trials and pre-commercial launch activities.

Investors: The series D round brought new investors Deerfield Partners, RA Capital, Ramius Capital Group and two unidentified blue chip public investment funds. They were joined by existing investors ARCH Venture Partners, Third Rock Ventures, TVM Capital and Forbion Capital Partners. A strategic investor, Shire plc, also participated.

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Management team: Nick Leschly, chief bluebird; Mitchell Finer, chief scientific officer; and David Davidson, chief medical officer.

Market size: Childhood cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy, beta-thalassemia and sickle cell anemia affect 10 million people globally, according to the company.

Competitors: uniQure.

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