Bay Area's Arcus Biosciences Scores $107M, Initiates Two Clinical Trials
Now totaling $227 million, Arcus Biosciences announced it had closed a $107 million Series C financing. This financing was led by GV (formerly Google Ventures). New investors included Wellington Management Company, EcoR1 Capital, BVF Partners, Decheng Capital, Hillhouse, Aisling Capital and investors associated with Leerink Partners. Existing investors The Column Group, Foresite Capital, Invus Opportunities, DROIA, Celgene and Taiho Ventures also participated.
The funds will be used to push its clinical programs for AB928 and AB122 into the clinic. The company recently launched a Phase I trial of AB928 in healthy volunteers, and expects to begin a Phase I/II trial of AB928 in combination with AB122 in cancer patients in the first half of next year.
Also this month, the company launched a Phase I trial of AB122 in cancer patients in Australia. Data is expected in 2018 and the company will also evaluate its potential in combination trials, in addition to AB928.
The money will also allow the company to advance two more product candidates into the clinic. These include AB680, a first-in-class small molecule CD73 inhibitor, and AB154, a TIGIT antibody.
“We are extremely pleased to add several outstanding investors with significant expertise in biotechnology to our investor group,” said Terry Rosen, Arcus’ chief executive officer, in a statement. “We have been assembling a team of staff, investors, leadership and advisors with a highly aligned long-term vision to create, develop and commercialize innovative cancer immunotherapies that may offer a meaningful benefit to patients over existing treatments. These new investors share this vision, and we are thrilled to add their expertise, leadership and commitment to our team.”
It was only late September since Arcus signed an option and license deal with Taiho Pharmaceutical to develop and commercialize product candidates in Arcus’s portfolio in Japan and specific Asian territories excluding China. Over the course of the first three years of the deal, Arcus will receive $35 million in payments. Taiho will have an option to in-license the development and commercialize rights in the region over a five-year period. Arcus will receive an option payment and can receive up to $275 million in commercial milestone payments per molecule for any product candidate whose license Taiho exercises. In addition, Arcus is eligible for high single digit to mid-double digit royalties on net sales of each product.
“We founded Arcus in 2015 to create a broad portfolio of novel molecules that target the most prevalent mechanisms of tumor-induced immune-suppression,” said Rosen in a September statement. “Our relationship with Taiho began with the inaugural investment of Taiho Ventures in Arcus in 2016, and since that time, we have come to recognize an alignment in vision with Taiho. We are thrilled to collaborate with Taiho on the advancement of our rapidly growing pipeline for the benefit of patients in Japan and other important territories in Asia. Given its significant expertise in the oncology area, we are confident that Taiho will maximize the value of our programs in these regions. We look forward to advancing at least four immuno-oncology product candidates into clinical development by the end of 2018.”