Three Biopharma Companies Close Series A Financing Rounds

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June appears to be a busy month for Series A financing rounds in the biotech industry, with three more companies closing in on millions of dollars’ worth of startup investments in the past couple of days.

Preclinical stage company Kurome Therapeutics announced today that it had closed $15 million in Series A financing to fund its focus on developing targeted kinase inhibitors for hematopoietic cancers. Co-leaders in the deal included Medicxi and Affinity Asset Advisors in concert with participation from CincyTech, a founding investor, and existing seed investors.

“This financing allows us to expand our R&D program to substantially de-risk compound selection as we identify our first development candidate in advance of IND filing,” said Jan Rosenbaum, PhD, Kurome’s Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer, in a statement.

According to Kurome, which officially launched in 2020, the $15 million investment will support the preclinical investigation of dual IRAK1/4 and panFLT3 inhibitors for the purposes of targeting cancer cells that evade targeted therapies and chemotherapies using adaptive resistance mechanisms. The company hopes the treatments may improve patient outcomes with acute myeloid leukemia who otherwise have a poor prognosis. 

Kurome is already setting its sights on even more goals, however, including its future focus on developing the therapies across other hematopoietic cancers, such as myelodysplastic syndromes, in addition to certain solid tumors that feature dysregulated IRAK1/4 signaling and inflammation.

San Diego-based Onchilles Pharma also announced today it has raised up to $7 million in Series A for the purpose of advancing a cancer drug candidate. The new funding comes from LYZZ Capital combined with $500,000 from the University of Chicago’s Startup Investment Fund.

Onchilles said in a statement that the new investment would be funneled into a program to advance first-in-class treatments that activate a specific pathway found in the innate immune system “with potential for universal anti-cancer activity, independent of genetic mutation.” The financing will also support proof-of-concept preclinical studies in addition to exploring a novel pathway for other therapeutic targets in cancer.

According to Court R. Turner, Cofounder and Executive Chairperson of Onchilles Pharma, as well as Partner at LYZZ Capital, said initially in vitro and in vivo preclinical studies of the company’s first candidate which activates a certain pathway that demonstrates direct, selective anti-cancer efficacy as well as a promising safety profile and lack of resistance with additional treatment exposure.

Onchilles has an exclusive license from the University of Chicago to intellectual property generated from the preclinical research studies. The licensed intellectual property is managed by The University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which negotiated the license with the company.

Hawthorne Effect, a company offering solutions for decentralized clinical trials, also closed on a Series A financing round yesterday, raising $20 million. This new funding, led by Northpond Ventures with participation from SignalFire and P5 Health Ventures, adds to the company’s current investments totaling up to $24 million.

In a statement made by the company, Hawthorn says the Series A financing will be used “to alleviate key issues related to patient recruitment and retention via its tech-driven platform and expansive network of medical professionals.” Additionally, the money will go toward accelerating growth and scaling Hawthorn’s operations.

"Hawthorne Effect is bringing the future of clinical trials to life with a solution rooted in scientific precision and clinical compassion," said Co-Founder and Partner of Northpond Ventures, Sharon Kedar, CFA, in a statement. "The team is reimagining accessibility to clinical trials and driving better data integrity – all while putting the patient first."

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