Israeli clinical-stage biotechnology company Novellus Ltd. announced today that it has raised $57 million in a Series C financing round led by Pontifax with OrbiMed Advisors, HBM Healthcare Investments, Wellington Management, Cormorant Asset Management, Novartis Venture Fund (NVF), SR One, and existing investors. The Jerusalem-based company is focused on precision oncology.
The funds raised will be used to fund the continued clinical development of the company’s lead program, PLX-8394, a BRAF inhibitor with a differentiated mechanistic profile licensed from Plexxikon, a Daiichi Sankyo company, earlier this year. PLX-8394's development will focus on clinical settings for which there are currently no FDA-approved BRAF inhibitors, including BRAF fusions and certain BRAF-mutated gliomas. The funds will also be used to fund the expansion of Novellus’ pipeline based on the company’s functional genomics platform.
Novellus CEO Michael Vidne said, "We believe PLX-8394 has the potential to address a major unmet need by targeting patient populations that are bereft of effective treatment options. The financing from this group of leading life science investors will enable us to realize the potential of PLX-8394 as a unique BRAF inhibitor."
Novellus’ FACT platform recapitulates naturally occurring mutations in vitro and tests their effect on signaling pathway activity and their response to different compounds. By doing so, it identifies unique, molecularly defined subpopulations of patients that are predicted to respond to given drugs.
Novellus CTO Gabi Tarcic said,"PLX-8394 was the first drug we identified using our platform as having an effect across a wide range of unique BRAF mutations. With this investment, we will extend this work to other genes and other compounds to create a unique pipeline."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on September 22, 2020
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