Ebb & Flow
In the largest biotech venture financing this year, cancer stem cell antibody company OncoMed received the $93 million final tranche of a B round that totaled $154 million.
New investor Nomura Phase4 participated in the financing along with existing investors. Adams Street Partners led the round, with participation from U.S. Venture Partners; Latterell Venture Partners; The Vertical Group; Morgenthaler Ventures; De Novo Ventures; Bay Partners; and GlaxoSmithKline (LSE:GSK; NYSE:GSK).
Nomura Phase4's Denise Pollard-Knight, who joined OncoMed's board, told Ebb & Flow that the round should get two antibodies through several Phase II trials.
OMP-21M18 is in Phase I testing to treat advanced solid tumors, with data expected next year. The human mAb targeting an undisclosed cancer stem cell pathway is partnered with GSK. The other antibody is undisclosed.
The 2007 pharma partnership is part of what brought Nomura Phase4 to the table. OncoMed received an undisclosed upfront payment and an equity investment from GSK, and is eligible for $1.4 billion in milestones, plus double-digit royalties.
OncoMed is using its xenograft cancer models to identify mAbs against cancer stem cells and develop them through Phase II in multiple cancer indications. GlaxoSmithKline has an exclusive option to further develop and commercialize four of the mAbs(see BioCentury, Dec. 17, 2007).
Pollard-Knight said the deal provided validation of at least one pathway, adding that the company is working on several other unpartnered pathways. "The combination of targeting these pathways and targeting them with antibodies seemed to us quite a promising approach," she said.
"We wanted to make sure there was enough cash in the kitty to progress against several pathways," Pollard-Knight added.
In July, cardiovascular company Portola raised the second largest venture round