5:01 AM
 | 
May 16, 2018
 |  BC Extra  |  Financial News

Stapled peptide company FOG raises $66M series B

FOG Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Cambridge, Mass.) raised $66 million in a series B round led by 6 Dimensions Capital. New investors GV, Blue Pool Capital, Horizons Ventures, Nan Fung Group and Leerink Partners also participated, as did existing investors Deerfield Management, Boyu Capital and WuXi AppTec Corporate Ventures, plus existing non-institutional investors.

By the end of 2019, FOG plans to begin clinical testing of its first product, a beta-catenin (CTNNB1) inhibitor, to treat cancers activated by the Wnt pathway.

Founded in 2015 by President and CEO Greg Verdine, FOG uses stapled peptide technology to block CTNNB1, a notoriously undruggable target, to treat metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Stapled peptides are cell-permeable peptides containing a chemical bridge, the staple, that stabilizes the core alpha-helix, enhancing the binding affinity of the helix and preventing proteolytic degradation. A key advantage of stapled peptides is their ability to enter cells and block protein-protein interactions that are otherwise difficult to drug. Verdine is also a professor at Harvard University (see BioCentury Innovations, May 31, 2017).

With the new funds, FOG intends to move its second program targeting Casitas B cell lymphoma-b (Cbl-b) -- another conventionally undruggable target -- into clinical testing, and plans to move a third as-yet-undisclosed program through IND-enabling studies. The company also hopes to identify three additional forms of cell-penetrating miniproteins through its drug discovery program.

FOG previously raised a total of $11 million in its seed and series A rounds.

6 Dimensions CEO Leon Chen and GV General Partner Krishna Yeshwant joined FOG's board, as did Richard Klausner. Klausner is founder and director of Juno Therapeutics Inc., Grail Inc. (Menlo Park, Calif.) and Mindstrong Health (Palo Alto, Calif.). Celgene Corp. (NASDAQ:CELG) acquired Juno in March.

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