With $54 Million in Financing, Olema Oncology Takes Aim at Breast Cancer
San Francisco-based Olema Oncology secured $54 million in an oversubscribed Series B financing round to support the development of its lead breast cancer treatment, as well as expand its ongoing research and development programs.
Olema’s lead program is OP-1250, a potential best-in-class complete estrogen receptor antagonist (CERAN). OP-1250 is designed to treat estrogen receptor-positive (ER+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-) breast cancer. Olema intends to use the proceeds from the Series B financing round to initiate a Phase I/II dose-escalation and expansion trial in the second half of this year. The trial will evaluate OP-1250 as a single agent in women with estrogen receptor-positive (ER+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-) recurrent, locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer, followed by studies of OP-1250 in combination with other targeted breast cancer therapies, the company said.
“With our deep insight into the biology of breast cancer, including target engagement, receptor binding and intracellular signaling, we have carefully selected OP-1250 as our lead program and are advancing it into human studies. Our goal is to develop more effective medicines to treat estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer,” Olema Chief Executive Officer Cyrus Harmon said in a statement.
The Series B financing round was co-led by BVF Partners L.P., Logos Capital and Janus Henderson Investors, with participation from new investors Cormorant Asset Management, RA Capital Management, Wellington Management Company, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company), Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners, and Foresite Capital.
“We are delighted to have the support of this premier syndicate of investors who share our commitment to developing targeted therapies designed to improve the lives of women living with breast cancer,” Harmon added.
Under terms of the financing arrangement, Graham Walmsley, Managing Partner at Logos Capital, has joined Olema’s board of directors. Other board members are Harmon; which also includes Frank McCormick, a professor at the University of California at San Francisco Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center; Andy Rapapport, Partner Emeritus of August Capital; and Gorjan Hrustanovic, Principal at BVF Partners.
Hrustanovic said BVF Partners was attracted to the company due to its “excellent science, robust preclinical data, experienced management team, and potential to make a significant impact on what remains a large unmet need among patients with breast and other hormone-positive cancers.” Hrustanovic added that he sees a “tremendous opportunity” for OP-1250 to become a “backbone of therapy for patients living with breast and other cancers.”