In Fight Against Blood Cancer, Imago Doubles Down with $80 Million Series C
Hugh Young Rienhoff, Jr., M.D., CEO at Imago BioSciences. Photo courtesy of Imago.
Imago’s focus is aimed at blood cancers with bomedemstat, the lead investigational medicine in the company's pipeline. Bomedemstat is a lysine specific demethylase 1 inhibitor. The LSD1 enzyme has been shown to be vital in initiating tumor growth.
The funding will be used to complete a Phase III study of bomedemstat for the treatment of myeloproliferative neoplasms, blood cancers that occur when the body makes too many white or red blood cells or platelets. The oral small molecule drug is currently in Phase IIb trials investigating its use for the treatment of myelofibrosis and essential thrombocythemia. Imago announced the first patient dosing for the latter disorder last month. The myelofibrosis study is particularly aimed at patients who are no longer benefiting from other forms of treatments.
“The support of this group of elite health care investors enables us to pursue our bold vision of developing transformative medicines to treat people living with devastating cancer of the bone marrow with our first efforts focused on bone marrow neoplasms including the myeloproliferative diseases,” said Hugh Young Rienhoff, Jr., M.D., CEO at Imago BioSciences. “This financing allows us to take bomedemstat through the next set of late stage clinical trials in multiple indications.”
The support raised this round will support the Phase III trial for either MF or ET, with the hopes that an IPO in 2021 will bring in the cash to take the other one into Phase III as well. Full enrollment for both is anticipated by the middle of next year. As open-label trials, Imago will be able to keep tabs weekly to see if endpoints are on track to be met.
Bomedemstat received FDA Fast Track designation for its development in the treatment of essential thrombocythemia in January.
Supporting the oversubscribed Series C this week were new investors including funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., funds and accounts managed by Blackrock Advisors, LLC., Surveyor Capital, Irving Investors and Kingdon Capital Management. Existing investors also participating in the financing include a fund managed by Blackstone Life Sciences, Frazier Healthcare Partners, Omega Funds, Amgen Ventures, MRL Ventures Fund, HighLight Capital, Pharmaron Investments Ltd., Greenspring Associates and Xeraya Capital. The round was led by Farallon Capital Management.
Also in the pipeline, Imago is looking to combine bomedemstat with Incyte’s JAK inhibitor ruxolitinib, called Jakafi. Ruxolitinib has shown siginficant effects on the symptoms of the disease but doesn’t aid in disease progression. Imago’s bomedemstat works in a completely different mechanism so together the two drugs have a potential to make a big impact.
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