FogPharma pulls in $145M to support cancer drug research

Dive Brief:

  • Cancer drug developer FogPharma has raised $145 million in fresh funding, the company revealed Friday, announcing a Series E round that will give a financial boost to the nearly decade-old biotechnology company.
  • The funding will support development of FOG-001, FogPharma’s most advanced drug candidate, which is designed to target a protein known as beta-catenin as a way to inhibit tumor growth. The drug is currently in a Phase 1/2 study.
  • FogPharma’s financing was led by Nextech Invest and involved other big-name investors like RA Capital Management, Arch Venture Partners and GV. Veteran biotech investor Alexis Borisy has also joined FogPharma’s board of directors.

Dive Insight:

In prior years, promising young biotechs would often make a run at Wall Street after raising their first two or three venture rounds.

As initial public offering activity has slowed, however, some companies are staying private for longer, even if they eventually do make it to public markets. CG Oncology, the year’s breakout IPO so far, closed a $105 million Series F just five months before it went public, for instance.

Some of the venture investors that participated in FogPharma’s Series E round are notable for often partaking in so-called crossover rounds, such as RA Capital, Fidelity and Cormorant Asset Management, which back both public and private companies. The company also received funding from Alex Gorsky, the former chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson.

“This financing will allow us to execute on our expanded clinical development and commercialization strategy to deliver FOG-001 to patients, while simultaneously strengthening our discovery efforts against other compelling intracellular targets that drive a range of diseases,” Mathai Mammen, FogPharma’s CEO, said in a statement.

FogPharma last year tapped Mammen, who previously ran R&D at J&J, to replace co-founder Greg Verdine as its CEO.

“When we started the company, we said we’re going to drug beta-catenin,” Verdine told BioPharma Dive in 2023. “Beta-catenin is, hiding in plain sight, a monster oncogene.”

It’s part of a cell signaling pathway that’s often activated in a number of cancers, particularly colorectal cancer. Though the protein has been a known target for oncology researchers for years, it’s been exceedingly difficult to drug. FogPharma claims its “Helicon” polypeptide drugs could overcome those challenges.

Other programs in its pipeline target oncogenes that are implicated in prostate, ovarian and pancreatic cancers.

Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly identified the series of FogPharma’s funding round.

This post has been syndicated from a third-party source. View the original article here.

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