Versant backs a rebooted Tarveda with $30M round for pipeline development

Drew Fromkin

Just a year after raising $38 million to reboot his company, Tarveda Therapeutics CEO Drew Fromkin has hauled in a $30 million round to fund the second stage of his pipeline building plan.

Fromkin has plenty of ways to spend the money. He’s engaged in a Phase I program for a new lead therapy, PEN-221, a “miniaturized” conjugate targeting somatostatin receptor 2 for small cell lung cancer. And he’s bringing another one of his drugs into the clinic, advancing PEN-866, a miniaturized HSP90-targeting drug conjugate for use in advanced, topoisomerase 1-sensitive cancer patients.

“We have enough runway to get through and beyond our Phase IIa expansion in 221,” Fromkin tells me, while advancing to the “verge of going into registrational studies.”

Versant Ventures stepped in to lead this round, bringing Versant’s Basel-based partner Guido Magni onto the board. And all the earlier investors in Tarveda came back for more, including New Enterprise Associates, Novo A/S, NanoDimension and Flagship Pioneering.

Fromkin’s 27 staffers are focused on Pentarins, miniaturized biologic drug conjugates designed to get deeper into solid tumors with a toxic payload. He refocused the old Bob Langer-backed Blend Therapeutics on the new tech, spinning out Placon and the old lead drug, BTP-114, with plans to pursue development of platinum-based cancer drugs.

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