Rich Heyman joins PMV Pharma, a p53 biotech, as it adds $70 million in Series D
Less than a year after pulling in an impressive $62 million Series C round, PMV Pharma is back at it again.
The Cranbury, NJ-based biotech announced Monday an additional $70 million in Series D financing as it seeks to develop cancer therapies targeting p53 mutations. Additionally, PMV also introduced longtime biotech entrepreneur Rich Heyman as chairman of the board of directors.
“This financing provides PMV Pharma with the resources to expand our pipeline and to potentially advance multiple p53 therapies into the clinic,” said PMV president and CEO David Mack in a statement.
The Series D was funded by Avoro Capital, RA Capital Management and Wellington Management Company, who joined existing investors OrbiMed Advisors, Nextech Invest, Viking Global Investors and Boxer Capital.
PMV declined to comment beyond Monday’s press release, suggesting they may be preparing for an IPO. Companies that meet this profile typically have their S-1 filings ready to go, putting them in a quiet period before their stock hits Wall Street.
Heyman comes to PMV after founding the biotechs Aragon and Seragon, each of which sold for more than $1 billion in the span of 12 months back in 2013 and 2014. J&J bought Aragon, and while Roche and Genentech purchased Seragon, the duo quietly scrapped that biotech’s lead program from Phase II studies in 2017.
“[Heyman’s] wealth of experience and proven track record of strategic business, scientific and clinical accomplishments will be invaluable as we continue to progress our pipeline of p53 programs towards the clinic,” Mack said.
Though PMV hasn’t announced any of its pipeline programs just yet, it’s focused studies on mutant p53 proteins — one of the biggest and most frustrating targets in the field. The protein is a tumor suppressor, and the wild, or normal, p53 plays a pivotal role in the body’s natural defense mechanism against cancer.
P53 can induce a highly organized program of cellular death to prevent the proliferation of potentially cancerous cells, and mutations, which can lose their tumor suppressing function, are found in almost half of all cancers. PMV hopes its candidates can restore the protein in such instances, but the target has proved elusive for other biotechs in the past.
PMV likes their chances however, given that one of their co-founders, Arnold Levine, was one of the scientists credited with the discovery of the p53 protein in 1979.