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Apr 14, 2014
 |  BioCentury  |  Finance

Forma's lean VC profile

How Forma built its drug discovery platform while minimizing VC money

Traditional VCs appear to have missed the boat on Forma Therapeutics Holdings LLC because the platform company launched when many investors were focusing on late-stage companies or single-asset plays that could generate near-term returns. Early backing from strategic investors and a string of deals like this month's Celgene Corp. partnership have given Forma a free hand to build its drug discovery engine.

In the companies' second partnership in a year, Celgene paid Forma $225 million in cash up front for a 3.5-year research collaboration to discover and develop compounds targeting undisclosed protein families across a range of therapeutic areas.

The deal includes options for two additional deals, with an option to acquire the company at a price to be determined later.

Last year, Celgene and Forma partnered to develop compounds that regulate protein homeostasis (see BioCentury, May 6, 2013).

Under that deal, Forma received an undisclosed upfront payment and is eligible for up to $200 million in R&D payments. Forma is also eligible for up to $315 million in milestones for the first licensed compound and up to $430 million in milestones for each subsequently licensed compound, plus royalties.

Excluding milestones, Forma has now secured more than $900 million in non-dilutive funding through partnerships, according to President and CEO Steven Tregay.

In contrast, Forma has raised just $44 million in three venture rounds since the company was founded in 2007. These include a $5.5 million series A round in 2008, a $28.5 million...

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