MA's Blueprint Medicines Scrounges Up $50 Million

Published: Nov 12, 2014

MA's Blueprint Medicines Scrounges Up $50 Million

November 12, 2014

By Riley McDermid, BioSpace.com Breaking News Editor

Cambridge, Mass.-based cancer startup Blueprint Medicines said today that it has finished a $50 million Series C financing round, led by Partner Fund Management and including new investors Wellington Management Company, RA Capital, Tavistock Life Sciences, Perceptive Advisors, Sabby Capital, Cowen Investments and Redmile Group.

Blueprint's existing shareholders Biotechnology Value Fund, Casdin Capital, Fidelity Biosciences, Nextech Invest and Third Rock Ventures also participated. Founded in 2011, Blueprint Medicines is privately held and was initially backed by Third Rock and Fidelity.

The company said it will use the money to shepherd its two lead product candidates through clinical trials in 2015 while continuing to develop its kinase discovery platform and pipeline. Blueprint specializes in discovering and developing highly selective kinase inhibitors for genomically defined cancers.

"The proceeds from this financing provide us with the financial strength to initiate clinical trials for our FGFR4 and KIT Exon 17 inhibitors in 2015 with the goal of establishing proof of concept rapidly and ultimately improving the lives of patients," said Jeffrey Albers, chief executive officer of Blueprint, in a statement. "We are incredibly pleased to welcome such highly respected public investors to our shareholder base. Their investment provides strong endorsement for the quality of the platform, pipeline and team we've built at Blueprint Medicines over the past three years."

Blueprint said it expects to initiate clinical trials in 2015 with both BLU-385 and BLU-554. BLU-285 is a selective inhibitor of KIT Exon 17 mutants, which the firm will be testing in two clinical studies, including one for the systemic mastocytosis patient population and another for genomically defined subsets of patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST). BLU-554 is the first known selective FGFR4 inhibitor and Blueprint will be putting it in a clinical study for patients suffering from hepatocellular carcinoma with aberrant FGFR4 pathway activation.

The company’s new venture capitalist partners said Wednesday that they are optimistic about the potential Blueprint may hold.

"Blueprint Medicines' proprietary kinase platform, which combines a first-of-its-kind chemical library and a novel genomics-based target discovery engine, holds significant value creation potential," said Alex Virgilio of Partner Fund Management.

"The team has achieved impressive results to date by rapidly discovering and advancing two first-in-class product candidates toward clinical development,” he said. “We believe the team can sustainably replicate this success based on the strength of the platform in producing exquisitely selective inhibitors to novel genomically defined kinase targets."

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