Venture

Eyeing an IPO, Fulcrum execs nail down an $80M round on the way to the clinic with their first gene-regulating drug

In the latest sign that there’s more and more money chasing good science, Fulcrum Therapeutics has grabbed an $80 million B round to back its move into the clinic with the first of its gene regulating small molecules. And the executive team has already blueprinted an IPO for early next year to keep the work progressing at full steam.

“The rounds are getting bigger and bigger,” acknowledges CEO — and longtime biotech veteran — Bob Gould, who offered an update on the company in advance of this latest round. And as the science gets better, fully funded companies like Fulcrum are expected to move faster and faster.

Two years after launching the company, says Gould, they already have 11 clinical sites lined up to start testing their first therapy. And now they can start expanding their clinical development team to help hurry things along.

What used to take 5, 6 or 7 years in biotech, he notes, can now be wrapped in 2.5 to 3 years.

That’s good news for patients suffering from facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). Fulcrum has positioned their FSHD drug for the first clinical test, with plans to build up a pipeline behind it focused on rare, genetically based neuromuscular, central nervous system and hematologic disorders. 

Jim Tananbaum

Advances in genetics have pointed Fulcrum’s team straight at 86 misregulated genes behind FSHD. And Gould says that they can build on the targeting improvements made in oncology to bore right in, asking that specificity question right off the bat. It’s keeping the preclinical work at the Third Rock startup clearly focused.

This new syndicate includes some notable crossover and Chinese investors, pointing me to the IPO question.

Foresite Capital led the round with participation by Fidelity Management and Research Company, 6 Dimensions Capital, Casdin Capital, Sanofi Ventures, Section 32, NS Investments, entities affiliated with Leerink Partners, and undisclosed institutional investors. Foresite’s Jim Tananbaum is joining the board.

They’re all behind a plan to go public next year, says Gould, so long as market conditions remain sunny with clear sailing for IPOs. That’s not in their control. That IPO can come as early as Q1 2019, says Gould, the former Epizyme CEO who’s no stranger to public markets.


Image: Bob Gould. FULCRUM


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