Cylene Pharmaceuticals Closes $44 Million Series C Financing
Cylene Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a small molecule oncology drug discovery and development company, recently announced the closing of a $44 million Series C financing, co-led by HBM BioVentures (Cayman) Ltd. and Lilly Ventures. The Company elected to have the financing commitment paid in two separate tranches, representing approximately 60% and 40% of these fund commitments. Proceeds from the financing will be used to fund human clinical trials for Phase II studies of CX-3543 in several different cancer indications and to advance two more products into development. CX-3543, Cylene’s most advanced product for the treatment of multiple cancers, acts as a Ribosomal RNA Biogenesis Inhibitor (RBI) by targeting a Protein:DNA interaction that is amplified in cancer cells during Pol I transcription of the rRNA genes.
In addition to HBM BioVentures (Cayman) Ltd. and Lilly Ventures, other new and returning investors include: Sanderling Ventures, Novartis BioVenture Fund, BioVentures Investors, Research Corporation Technologies, Mitsui & Co. Venture Partners, and Celgene Corporation. Dr. Erich Platzer of HBM Partners (investment advisor to HBM BioVentures), S. Edward Torres of Lilly Ventures, and Reinhard J. Ambros, Ph.D. of Novartis BioVenture Fund have been elected to the Cylene Board of Directors. In addition, Walter Gilbert, Ph.D. and Deborah Widener were previously appointed as Directors. Dr. Gilbert was awarded the 1980 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of a method for rapid DNA sequencing, he led a distinguished forty year academic career at Harvard University, and he co-founded and served as the CEO of Biogen. Dr. Gilbert has also served as a Managing Director of BioVentures Investors since 2001. Ms Widener, who earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, has twenty-five years of expertise in financing strategies in both private and public markets. Previously, Ms Widener managed billions of dollars in leveraged investments as President of General Electric Capital Corp.’s Financial Service Group, and she served as an investment banking Managing Director of Robertson, Stephens & Co. and a Managing Director at Adams, Harkness.
"We are very pleased with the level of enthusiasm surrounding our lead compound and our proprietary Ribosomal RNA Biosynthesis Inhibition Technology," said Dr. William G. Rice, President and CEO of Cylene Pharmaceuticals. "This funding should enable us to complete multiple Phase II studies of CX-3543 and to expand our product pipeline with internally-discovered product candidates. Moreover, the financing unified a talented and cohesive Board of Directors that can provide insightful governance and help keep us on the path of success."
"Our firm seeks investments in innovative, clinical-stage companies that offer strong partnership potential with big pharmaceutical companies," said Dr. Erich Platzer, an investment advisor at HBM Partners and formerly Head of Strategic Marketing Oncology at Roche. "Cylene Pharmaceuticals certainly fits these parameters. Cylene’s clinical development efforts are led by Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, and Cylene Pharmaceuticals leads the industry in directly targeting the ribosomal RNA biogenesis apparatus."
"Lilly Ventures invests in companies with promising technologies that have the capability of generating multiple product candidates," said S. Edward Torres, Lilly Ventures. "Cylene's RBI technology enables the design of drugs with potential anticancer activity across a broad range of tumor types via novel targets within validated anticancer pathways. These drugs could provide new valuable tools to cancer patients and their doctors."
"As Chairman of the Cylene Board of Directors and as an early investor, I am delighted to have the support and commitment of other top-tier venture capital funds in building a leading oncology company," said Fred A. Middleton, General Partner of Sanderling Ventures.
About Cylene Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Cylene Pharmaceuticals is a biotech pharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of targeted small-molecule drugs to treat life-threatening cancers. Using its proprietary Ribosomal RNA Biosynthesis Inhibition Technology (RABIT™) to design molecules that combat drug-resistant forms of cancer, Cylene has created multiple product candidates in different stages of development. Cylene’s most advanced cancer agent, CX-3543, is a Ribosomal RNA Biogenesis Inhibitor (RBI) in late-stage Phase 1 clinical development. More information can be found at www.cylenepharma.com