Months after emerging from stealth, Nuvalent follows up with $135M Series B — backed by some active players on the biotech IPO scene
When Matt Shair unveiled a $50 million Series A for his latest targeted therapy startup earlier this year, the Harvard professor was pleased with how capital efficient they managed to be.
“I think a lot of companies would take that $50 million and make some progress,” Shair, who had co-founded Infinity Pharma years ago, told Endpoints News then. “But we’ve taken that $50 million and with a small number of people, have two compounds headed into the clinic in three years, and have other programs in discovery phase.”
That tight timeline is clearly still something Nuvalent holds itself to.
Barely three months after throwing itself into the spotlight, the biotech has reloaded with $135 million in Series B. Bain Capital Life Sciences led a crossover-heavy syndicate for the round, many of whom have demonstrated eagerness to jump right into the red hot IPO market. (The company turned down a request for interview.)
Just last month, Nuvalent burnished the profile of its parallel lead candidates by presenting them at AACR. Both are designed to fulfill the wish list of physicians they had consulted — such as brain penetration — through reviewing a lot of crystal structures and relevant information to understand mutations around targets and the interaction between small molecule and ligand.
NLV-520 is billed as a highly selective ROS1 inhibitor that works against the G2032R solvent front mutation; while NLA-655 is an ALK inhibitor that should have an effect even on the lorlatinib-resistant G1202R/L1196M compound mutation.
ROS1 and ALK, according to Shair, are just the “tip of the spear” giving people a taste of the rich pipeline to come.
The commitment, CEO Jim Porter has noted, is “that we will design a solution specifically for that problem and not try to design a multipurpose solution that can go after a number of different cancers.”
Deerfield gave them the initial funding to get started a couple of years back. It’s also chipped in for the new financing.
New investors include Fidelity, Wellington, Viking Global Investors, Janus Henderson Investors, Avoro Capital Advisors, Boxer Capital of Tavistock Group, Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners, Fairmount Funds Management, Driehaus Capital Management and Logos Capital.
“Nuvalent’s focused approach to drug development has led to a promising pipeline of novel drug candidates with specific, rational designs and opportunity for meaningful clinical impact,” said Andrew Hack, a managing director at Bain who is joining the board.