Big botech venture rounds are coming fast and furious in Q1, and much of the money is being funneled into preclinical outfits like Ideaya Biosciences — abundantly hopeful on promise in a hot cancer R&D field but skimpy with details.
The South San Francisco-based biotech has all the key features that’s made biotech such a trendy investment for packed syndicates. And today it’s taking the wraps off a whopping $94 million B round.
There’s some tech hype: It promises to go well beyond the first generation of PARP inhibitors and show what can be done with synthetic lethality, a genetically targeted approach at triggering the destruction of cancer cells. Pipeline plans also call for multiple projects on immuno-oncology.
There’s no data, but there are a few hints at where it’s headed: In this case PARG, where the company just announced a deal to work with CRUK in London on small molecule drugs. PARG is a cellular enzyme that breaks down Poly(ADP-ribose), aiming at a protein function required for DNA repair — the very essence of synthetic lethality.
An A-list of marquee investors: Roche and Celgene are both jumping in here, alongside Novartis, which came to the table during the $46 million A round. The full mix on the crossover round include new investors BVF Partners, Perceptive Advisors LLC, Nextech Invest Ltd, GV (you’ll call them Google Ventures), Roche Venture Fund, 6 Dimensions Capital, Boxer Capital of the Tavistock Group, and Driehaus Capital Management. Celgene came back with 5AM Ventures, Canaan Partners, WuXi Healthcare Ventures and Alexandria Venture Investments.
Eyeing an IPO? Yes, but there’s no timeline. In fact, there are no timelines about anything.
“I would say where we are differentiated,” says CEO Yujiro Hata, “we’re probably the furthest ahead with the most diverse portfolio.”
No, he’s not detailing the portfolio. This early in the game, not many would, particularly with several other venture-backed rivals in the field.
Hata also has the advantage of being an experienced player in biotech. He was the COO at Flexus, which was bought out by Bristol-Myers for $1.25 billion. His former boss Terry Rosen just completed a $120 million IPO. And these days experienced teams with close ties to the venture crowd can raise hundreds of millions of dollars before seeing any human data.
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