FogPharma today announced the closing of a $66 millionSeries B financing. The round was led by 6 Dimensions Capital, with participation by additional new investors, including GV (formerly Google Ventures), Blue Pool Capital, Horizons Ventures, Nan Fung Group, and Leerink Partners. All existing investors participated in the round including Deerfield Management, Boyu Capital, WuXi AppTec Corporate Ventures, and a prominent international group of non-institutional investors.
FogPharma was founded by renowned scientist-entrepreneur Dr. Gregory Verdine, whose Harvardlab invented cell-penetrating miniproteins and who coined the term "drugging the undruggable" to describe his life's mission. FogPharma's research and development strategy is unique in that it pairs a broadly-enabling new drug class, designed to access the cell interior, with a massively parallelized engine to discover – rapidly and on-demand – drugs that engage the most intractable of disease targets. FogPharma's drug discovery engine has been configured to deliver multiple new medicines in rapid succession, with clinical entry for the first product, a first-in-class beta-catenin antagonist, by the end of 2019, followed by a steady stream of first-in-class clinical product candidates addressing other intractable targets.
While FogPharma's approach has many therapeutic applications, the company's early focus is on drugging the major, intractable drivers of cancer and on pharmacological management of the immune response.
"One of the most important challenges of our time is making actionable the enormous, inactionable trove of biological data on human disease targets. FogPharma is addressing this challenge by bringing forward a new class of medicines that combine the cell-penetrating ability of small molecules with the broad, target power of biologics, and by learning how to discover these medicines better, faster and smarter," said Verdine, chief executive officer and chief scientific officer, FogPharma.
Added Verdine, "We are thrilled to have such an incredible group of investors who share our vision of fundamentally advancing the treatment of cancer and other serious diseases with few if any current treatment options. We are excited at the opportunity provided by this financing to propel our programs and drug discovery engine forward."
Proceeds from the Series B raise will enable the company to advance its first-in-class beta-catenin inhibitor (iCat) program into Phase 2 development for cancer indications involving Wnt pathway activation. The financing will also be used to advance clinical development of its first-in-class Cbl-b inhibitor program and a third as-yet-undisclosed program through IND-enabling studies, and FogPharma's drug discovery platform for three additional, distinct and differentiated forms of cell-penetrating miniproteins.
In association with the Series B financing, FogPharma has appointed to its board of directors: Dr. Leon Chen, chief executive officer, 6 Dimensions Capital; Dr. Krishna Yeshwant, general partner, GV; and Dr. Rick Klausner, founder and director, Juno Therapeutics, GRAIL and Mindstrong.
"There is substantial and persistent interest in tackling targets like beta-catenin and Cbl-b, which are clearly important biologically and medically, but untouchable by conventional therapeutics. I was captivated by the FogPharma team's unprecedented ability to go after these and other intractable targets," said Klausner, formerly director of the National Cancer Institute and executive director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
"The opportunity in the near term to bring cell-penetrating miniproteins to the 20-25 percent of cancer patients whose disease is driven by the Wnt pathway is tremendous, and the opportunity beyond that to be the first to drug Cbl-b for immuno-oncology indications, is extraordinary. On behalf of 6 Dimensions Capital, I am thrilled to have led this exceptional investor syndicate and foster FogPharma's mission," said Chen, chief executive officer, 6 Dimensons Capital, and member of the FogPharma board of directors.
Through seed and Series A financing, FogPharma previously secured $11 million bringing the company's total funding to-date to $77 million.
In addition to FogPharma, Verdine founded and leads LifeMine Therapeutics, which has buit a first-of-its-kind, genomically-enabled drug discovery platform that can rapidly develop new drugs from fungi. Both LifeMine Therapeutics and FogPharma are headquartered in Cambridge, Mass. and were established operationally in 2016. Verdine is highly regarded for having moved seamlessly between successful roles as life scientist, entrepreneur, investor, and chief executive throughout his career. He is Erving Professor at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School and has founded multiple NASDAQ-listed biotech companies including Wave Life Sciences, Enanta, Eleven Bio, Variagenics, Tokai, Aileron, and a private company, Gloucester Pharmaceuticals, acquired by Celgene in 2010.
For more information on FogPharma, please visit www.fogpharma.com.
About FogPharma FogPharma was born from the scientific and entrepreneurial vision of founder Dr. Gregory Verdine, a pioneer in the discovery and development of new drug classes that "drug the undruggable." FogPharma's cell-penetrating miniproteins are a broad new class of medicines that can drug targets beyond the reach of conventional therapeutics. Together with world-leading experts and collaborators in translational medicine, the FogPharma team is building a drug discovery platform to develop fundamentally new treatments for cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
Co-founded in 2015 by academic scientist, biotech entrepreneur, investor, and chief executive Dr. Verdine, FogPharma is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass. and has raised $77 million in funding as of May 2018. For more information on FogPharma please visit www.fogpharma.com.