Bicycle Therapeutics Snags $52 Million to Take Early Stage Drugs Into Clinic

Published: Jun 01, 2017

Bicycle Therapeutics Snags $52 Million to Take Early Stage Drugs Into Clinic June 1, 2017
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

CAMBRIDGE, England – Tiny Bicycle Therapeutics continues to roll, snagging $52 million in Series B financing that will be used to develop the company’s lead cancer molecule, BT1718.

This is the second big financial gain for the company in the past six months. In December, the company with offices in both the U.K. and Cambridge, Mass., inked a deal worth up to $1 billion with AstraZeneca to identify molecules for an undisclosed number of targets for AstraZeneca using the company’s technology platform that identifies proprietary bicyclic peptides, or Bicycles, from which the company draws its name. Bicycles are a novel class of small molecule medicines designed to overcome many of the limitations of existing drug modalities, the company said. The bicyclic peptides are designed to be used as standalone therapeutic entities or coupled to deliver a variety of therapeutic payloads.

In addition to its deal with AstraZeneca, Bicycle also received a preclinical milestone development for the treatment of diabetic macular edema in April, under its ophthalmology alliance with ThromboGenics.

Now Bicycle has secured additional financing to take BT1718 into the clinic later this year as a therapy for “cancers of high unmet need.” BT1718 targets Membrane Type 1 Matrix Metalloproteinase (MT1-MTP), which is highly expressed in many solid tumors, including triple negative breast cancer and non-small cell lung cancer, the company said. When Bicycle takes BT1718 into the clinic it will be in partnership with Cancer Research UK.

In addition to financing clinical trials, Bicycle said funds raised in the Series B will also fund additional pipeline programs through early clinical development, the first of which will be selected in the second half of 2017.

Kevin Lee, Bicycles chief executive officer, said the Series B financing is an “important validation” of the company’s Bicycle product platform. Bicycles can combine properties of several therapeutic entities in a single modality: exhibiting the affinity and selective pharmacology associated with antibodies; the distribution kinetics of small molecules, allowing rapid tumor penetration; and the “tuneable” pharmacokinetic half-life and renal clearance of peptides, according to company information.

“We are grateful for the continued strong support from our investors as we move BT1718 rapidly toward the clinic and continue to advance our preclinical programs, including toxin drug conjugates and immune modulators to treat cancer and other debilitating diseases,” Lee said in a statement.

The Series B was supported by new investors Vertex Ventures HC, Cambridge Innovation Capital and Longwood Fund. Additionally, the financing round was supported by existing investors that include Novartis Venture Fund, SROne, SVLS and Atlas Venture. In 2014, those three financiers helped the company close on a $32 million Series B round.

As part of this financing, the company tapped Christopher Shen, managing director at Vertex Ventures HC, and Michael Anstey, investment director at CIC, to its board of directors.

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