Kinnate jumps onto the biotech stage with $74.5M and a fledgling cancer drug pipeline
Cancer continues to be the disease category of choice among a large swath of biotech VCs.
San Diego-based Kinnate has jumped out from the shadows with a hefty $74.5 million B round to fund its work on developing a new pipeline of kinase inhibitors. Their small molecule discovery approach has centered on a lead effort aimed at DNA damage repair pathways — think PARP here — with followup programs targeting gene “rearrangement” with known mutations and a third effort on an unspecified pathway.
Co-founder and CEO Stephen Kaldor said they had made considerable progress on the discovery side, working on their small molecules over the past 21 months. You might remember that Kaldor helmed Quanticel, which Celgene bought out in a deal worth up to $485 million.
Kinnate is part of a fledgling group of companies operating under Fount Therapeutics, which is backed by Foresite. This is a popular model for newco development in the industry, employed by Vivek Ramaswamy at Roivant and Neil Kumar at BridgeBio, with extra flexibility when it comes to raising money and doing deals on assets.
A high-profile group of VCs is buying in. OrbiMed, Nextech Invest and Vida Ventures — the new VC chaired by Kite founder Arie Belldegrun — jumped in as new investors along with existing investors Foresite Capital and Eshelman Ventures.
“For two decades, kinase inhibitors have addressed an increasing number of oncology indications. We are pleased to be working with the experienced team at Kinnate to continue this progress,” noted Carl Gordon of OrbiMed.