Prelude Therapeutics Rakes in $60 Million in Series B Funding, Expands Executive Team

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Prelude Therapeutics, headquartered in Wilmington, Del., closed on a Series B financing round worth $60 million. The round was co-led by existing institutional investors, including OrbiMed Advisors. The round brings total financing up to $95 million.

The company plans to use the money raised to advance PRT543, its PRMT5 inhibitor which is currently in a Phase I clinical trial for solid tumors, myeloid malignancies and lymphomas, continue working on other compounds from the PRMT5 program and strengthen its discovery and development infrastructure programs to move past PRMT5.

PRMT5 stands for Protein Arginine Methyl Transferase 5, which is from a family of enzymes involved in the methylation of arginine residues on histones, as well as other cytosolic and nuclear proteins. Arginine methylation is implicated in cancer cells’ resistance to certain cancer drugs. PRMT5 is overexpressed in numerous cancer types and typically is related to poor outcomes. Inhibitors of PRMT5 have shown efficacy in multiple preclinical models, both as monotherapies and in combination therapies.

“We are very appreciative of the continued support of our current investors, who have been integral to the founding of Prelude and the creation of our growing pipeline,” stated Kris Vaddi, founder and chief executive officer of Prelude. “We believe PRMT5 inhibitors represent a promising new class of drugs to treat cancers, including ones that have developed resistance to existing targeted therapies. We are also pleased to have assembled such a talented, experienced and proven leadership team to address some of the most pressing gaps in cancer treatment.”

Vaddi founded the company in July 2016 and acts as chief executive officer and a board member. Before founding Prelude, he was a founder of Incyte Corporation in 2002 and most recently its group vice president.

David Mauro is coming on as the company’s chief medical officer. He was most recently Checkmate Pharmaceuticals’ chief medical officer and had previous roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck.

Brian Piper is joining the company on July 1 as chief financial officer. Piper was most recently chief financial officer at Aevi Genomic Medicine. Prior to that he was with Shire Pharmaceuticals.

The company launched in 2016 as part of the University of Delaware’s incubator program and was housed on the U of D’s STAR Campus. In 2017 it picked up a $400,000 grant from the state’s Council on Development Finance. The STAR (Science, Technology and Advanced Research) Center was founded in 2009.

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The company’s executive team is rounded out by Peggy Scherle, chief scientific officer. Prior to joining Prelude, Scherle was group vice president, Discovery Biology and Preclinical Pharmacology at Incyte. She was one of the original team scientists that joined Incyte in 2002 and was involved in the discovery and development of Jakafi and Olumiant.

Andrew Combs is executive vice president and Head of Chemistry. He was most recently vice president of Discovery Chemistry at Incyte. He previously held positions at DuPont-Merck, DuPont Pharmaceuticals and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Aimee Crombie is vice president of R&D Operations. Previously she was vice president of Research at Trevena. Before that she was a member of the Discovery Medicinal Chemistry group at Pfizer.

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