Sticking to hottest trends in biopharma, Oncologie gathers $80M for next leg of trans-Pacific clinical journey
When Oncologie launched last year, it highlighted its trendy model of operating between Boston and Shanghai amid a wave of Chinese capital eager to back experienced US execs in developing Western cancer drugs for the Asian market. For its Series B, it’s allying itself with another buzzy concept in the industry — choosing the right patients by biomarkers.
Nan Fung Life Sciences and Pivotal BioVentures China came back to lead the $80 million round designed to speed up clinical development as well as ramping up partnering and acquisition of new assets, according to CEO Laura Benjamin.
Under the ImClone/Eli Lilly vet’s leadership, Oncologie has in-licensed bavituximab and varisacumab from Avid Bioservices, as well as lefitolimod from the German biotech Mologen.
A late-stage failure of bavituximab torpedoed Peregrine’s stock a couple of years ago before the biotech changed its name to Avid. Oncologie now wants to test the drug — which inhibits phosphatidylserine — for gastric cancer in a proof-of-concept study, adding to existing trials in glioblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma.
Lefitolimod is a TLR9 activator while varisacumab targets VEGF. Oncologie has enlisted HTG Molecular Diagnostics in matching patients to these drugs in their clinical programs.
Hagop Youssoufian remains the acting CMO while chief business officer David Malek and chief development officer Jessica Rege round out a lean management team.
New investors, including Panacea Venture Healthcare and Korea Investment Partners, chipped in.