Roughly four and half years after securing $26.5 million in a Clarus Ventures-led Series A, San Francisco biotech Imago BioSciences has another $40 million in the bank to develop its bone marrow-focused therapy, courtesy a financing round led by Omega Funds.
The privately-held drug developer is targeting the management of proliferative diseases of the bone marrow — including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome, polycythemia vera, myelofibrosis and essential thrombocythemia — that trigger unbridled bone marrow cell growth, driven by genetic mutations.
Its lead drug IMG-7289 is designed to inhibit LSD1, an enzyme regulating cytokine expression that is considered crucial for sustaining self-renewal in cancer stem/progenitor cells, particularly neoplastic bone marrow cells. It is being tested in a Phase II myelofibrosis study, and last year completed a Phase I AML/MDS study. The capital injection will be used to shepherd the experimental drug through the completion of Phase IIb studies, the company said on Thursday.
The name Imago invokes the final and fully developed stage of an insect after its metamorphosis, and the company is hoping to do the same by translating scientific theory into new treatments.
Other investors participating in the round include existing investors Frazier Healthcare Partners, Amgen Ventures, and MRL Ventures Fund as well as HighLight Capital, Pharmaron and Greenspring Associates. Omega Funds’ Dina Chaya from is slated to join Imago’s board.
Another company looking into the potential of inhibiting LSD1 is Incyte $INCY, which is testing its drug INCB059872 for Ewing sarcoma and other cancers.
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