FogPharma® Announces $107 Million Series C Financing to Advance Direct β-Catenin Antagonist and Universal Druggability™ Platform
- FogPhama’s proprietary Helicon™ peptides represent a new class of precision medicines that combines the targeting strength and specificity of antibodies with the cell penetration of small molecules
- Proceeds will enable FogPharma to advance its first- and only-in-class direct β-catenin antagonist into clinical development to potentially address 20% or more of all cancers
- Funds will also build a pipeline of additional high-impact Helicon drug candidates against biologically validated targets never before drugged, with accelerating speed and scalability
- Corey Goodman, Ph.D., of venBio Partners joins board of directors as Chairman
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–FogPharma®, a biopharmaceutical company pioneering a new class of precision medicines potentially applicable to all therapeutic targets, including those previously considered “undruggable”, today announced the Company’s $107 million Series C financing. The financing was led by venBio Partners, with participation from new investors Cormorant Asset Management, Farallon Capital Management, Invus, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc.; HBM Healthcare Investments, Casdin Capital, and PagsGroup. Existing investors, including GV, 6 Dimensions Capital, Deerfield Management and Blue Pool Capital also participated in the oversubscribed round.
FogPharma’s proprietary hyperstabilized α-helical peptides (Helicon™ peptides) are a new class of therapeutics that combine the targeting strength and specificity of antibodies with the broad tissue distribution, intracellular target engagement and oral dosing optionality of small molecules. The Company’s Helicon peptide drug discovery engine integrates directed evolution, proprietary helix hyperstabilization chemistry, highly multiplexed drug optimization technology, artificial intelligence including deep learning and machine learning, structure-based drug discovery, and multiscale manufacturing to rapidly discover Helicon peptide therapeutics against important, previously intractable targets with broad applicability to virtually all disease areas.
“Helicon peptides are a next-generation class of therapeutics that holds the potential to revolutionize medicine by making all or nearly all targets druggable. Achieving this long-standing goal of the entire pharmaceutical industry makes it possible for disease biology alone to determine which targets get drugged,” said Gregory Verdine, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of FogPharma. “We are pleased to have the support of such an elite group of life sciences investors who share in our vision and mission to fundamentally redirect the future course of medicine by drugging the most notorious and previously untouchable drivers of serious human disease. We are excited to bring forward at an ever-increasing pace and scale first-in-class programs that tackle the most recalcitrant and prevalent drivers of human cancer.”
Proceeds from the Series C financing will allow FogPharma to advance its lead, only-in-class Helicon peptides aimed at addressing substantial cancer patient populations into clinical development, including:
- The Company’s first-and-only-in-class direct β-catenin inhibitor. Dysregulation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway has been shown to occur in at least 20% of all human cancers, with the true patient population likely being higher. FogPharma’s lead antagonist has been shown to surgically disrupt the interaction of β-catenin with its downstream transcription factor, TCF, and thereby disrupt signal transmission thorough the oncogenic arm of the Wnt pathway.
- A first-in-class YAP/TAZ-blocker TEAD antagonist, which is the only molecule presently in development that binds the fully activated form of TEAD. The YAP/TAZ-TEAD interface is part of the hippo pathway, where dysregulation has also been shown to occur in many cancers.
In association with the financing, Corey Goodman, Ph.D., managing partner of venBio Partners, has joined the FogPharma Board of Directors as Chairman.
“The vast majority of human proteins remain beyond the reach of small molecule and antibody-based approaches, and new modalities such as FogPharma’s Helicon peptides are urgently needed,” said Dr. Goodman. “I am excited by the potential of FogPharma’s lead programs targeting significant cancer populations, and I look forward to contributing to the Company’s future growth and success.”
With the completion of the Series C financing, FogPharma has raised more than $180 million from leading life science investors since its founding in 2016.
FogPharma’s mission is to drastically reduce the burden of disease on patients and their families by inventing new types of drugs that squelch abnormal physiological processes in ways previously imagined but considered unattainable. The company is pioneering the discovery, development and commercialization of Helicon™ peptides, a new drug modality that uniquely combines the cell-permeability and oral dosing optionality of traditional small molecule drugs with the high specificity, broad target accessibility and rapid discovery arc of monoclonal antibody drugs.
FogPharma was spun out of Harvard University in 2016 by pioneering academic scientist, serial life science entrepreneur, venture capitalist and successful biotech company-builder Dr. Gregory Verdine. FogPharma is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., and has raised more than $180 million to date. For more information, please visit www.fogpharma.com.