Olema Pharmaceuticals

In October 2020, Olema Pharmaceuticals announced a Series C Preferred stock financing of $85 million. The Company is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of targeted therapies for breast and gynecologic cancers.

Epic Sciences

In September 2018, Epic Sciences announced a $52 million Series C financing in which Deerfield participated. The Company is developing novel diagnostics to personalize and advance the treatment and management of cancer. Epic Sciences’ mission is to enable the rapid and non-invasive detection of genetic and molecular changes in cancer throughout a patient’s journey.

Civetta Therapeutics, LLC

In December 2019, Civetta Therapeutics, LLC announced a $53 million Series A round financing. Civetta is a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based therapeutics company, founded to advance new medicines through small molecule targeting of beta-propeller domains with the goal of developing important drugs for cancers and other diseases.

Genomics: How Next Generation Sequencing Might Play Out and the Implications for Precision Medicine

Precision medicine holds the promise of providing patients with therapies that target the biological mechanism contributing to a particular individual’s disease. Historically, the approach to developing novel medicines has lacked the ability to optimize therapy based on specific factors resulting in an individual patient’s disease state.

Although many drugs have been approved on the basis of clinical trials run in all patients with a disease, some patients enrolled in those trials have had a strong treatment effect while others had minimal to no effect due to biological diversity. With the advent of next generation sequencing (NGS), we now have the ability to understand the diversity of pathways and patient subsets that make up the broader diseased population. This affords the ability to develop therapies for a given patient that targets their specific genetic alteration.

Cancer has been a leading beneficiary of these advances. From a research perspective, biologists can now use next generation sequencing to identify mutations present in patient tumors. Many of these new insights have allowed researchers to further our understanding of cancer biology, although this is only the beginning to the development of targeted therapeutics. In addition to the identification of a novel mutation, researchers and clinicians must advance the science into clinical practice by validating the target through clinical trials in the relevant subset of patients.

This path to clinical validation runs counter to traditional drug development which typically require large trials to prove a drug is effective. With many patient subsets (or mutations) that might exist within a given cancer, it is typically not feasible to run large clinical trials. Yet, despite these challenges, a fundamental understanding of the biology and administration of appropriately targeted therapies has proven adequate by regulators to approve novel drugs. This has resulted in a rapid time to approval, bringing novel therapies to market in record time.

While NGS continues to hold tremendous promise toward the goal of precision medicine, there are a number of practical and technological challenges that currently limit broad applicability. Given the size of the human genome, there is a tremendous amount of data generated per sample of tissue. With existing sequencing technologies, performing whole genome sequencing can take 2-3 weeks due to the processing and interpretation of data. This is a challenge in the clinical setting since patients presenting with cancer may not tolerate a significant delay between diagnosis and therapy.

Additionally, while the cost of whole genome sequencing has come down over time, it can exceed thousands of dollars per sample making it prohibitive to adopt for all patients due to sheer cost. We anticipate that competition and improvement in technology will improve both the speed of a test result and cost thereby making it more accessible to the masses.

NGS also has technical limitations that limit broad clinical applicability. Genomic data derived from NGS technologies are descriptive and static representing a snapshot of the genetic mutations in a small sample of tissue. With cancer being a constantly mutating disease, it is important to keep up with the evolving genetic composition to optimize therapy over time. Additionally, a mutation in one tissue sample may not reflect the broad array of mutations present throughout the entire tumor.

A number of emerging technologies appear to have the potential to address these limitations. Liquid biopsy technologies can identify circulating genetic information, are non-invasive, and can provide a near real-time result, thereby holding the promise of a valuable monitoring and treatment optimization tool. There are also a host of functional genetic and cellular technologies that provide more detailed information as to which mutations are most importantly related to the process contributing to a given patient’s cancer. With the improvements of existing NGS technologies and introduction of novel technologies that can supplement our understanding of cancer biology, we are moving closer to the promise of precision medicine for all patients. Continued investment in the space holds the promise of making these technologies ubiquitous, low cost, and increasingly informative. Moreover, the speed at which novel biological insights can be tested and validated in the clinical setting are likely to increase rapidly as our knowledge of the underlying biology increases.

Nkarta Therapeutics

In August 2019, Nkarta announced a crossover Series B round financing of $114 million. Nkarta is developing genetically modified natural killer cells (NK) cell therapies for cancer.The Company’s lead program is an NKG2D CAR for the treatment of hematological malignancies and solid tumors.

Revolution Medicines, Inc.

In July 2019, Revolution Medicines, Inc. announced the closing of a $100 million Series C equity financing. The Company has developed a proprietary drug discovery platform for synthesizing small molecule compounds to previously undruggable oncology targets.Proceeds will support continued advancement of the Company’s pipeline, which includes its lead compound, RMC-4630, a SHP2 inhibitor that is currently in a Phase 1/2 study for advanced solid tumors and additional compounds that address elusive targets within the RAS pathway such as KRASG12C(GTP) and other cancer targets. Furthermore, the Company plans to explore the combination of these compounds that have demonstrated promising results in preclinical studies.

Stelexis Therapeutics Closes $43 million Series A to Expand Novel Platform Focused on Cancer Interception

Stelexis is a Deerfield founded and solely funded company

New York, NY – January 7, 2019 – Stelexis Therapeutics, LLC announced that it closed a $43 million Series A financing to expand its proprietary platform to discover and selectively target pre‐cancerous stem cells. Deerfield established Stelexis in 2017 together with scientific founders, Ulrich Steidl, Evripidis Gavathiotis, Amit Verma, and Roman Perez‐Soler of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Health, New York and Derrick Rossi of Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Patrick Doyle serves as the founding CEO, and Keren Paz is the CSO of Stelexis.

Stelexis’ proprietary drug discovery platform identifies the earliest definable pre‐cancerous stem and progenitor cells that lead to the formation of human primary and recurrent tumors for therapeutic intervention and relapse prevention. Stelexis’ mission is to develop novel cancer drugs that selectively target these critical pre‐cancerous events related to both hematopoietic and solid malignancies.

“The ability to identify, isolate, study and screen rare pre‐cancerous stem cells, from within bulk tumors, is an enormous breakthrough that has the potential to change how cancer patients are treated” stated Dr. Steidl. “Our thesis is that targeting cancer at its very origin should not only be effective as first line therapy, but should also lead to long‐lasting remission for patients,” said Dr. Rossi, who, prior to co‐founding Stelexis, has also co‐founded numerous other successful biotechnology companies.

Utilizing Deerfield seed funding and operational support since 2017, Stelexis has established its labs in Albert Einstein College of Medicine facilities, hired key management and is poised to deliver clinical trial data that validate its platform using the proceeds of this Series A round.

“We are thrilled to announce the formation and funding of Stelexis, which has the platform technology to explore the role pre‐cancer conditions play in cancer development and recurrence. The team has an outstanding track record and we look forward to a stream of transformative cancer medicines,” stated Dr. Robert Jackson, director at Stelexis and partner at Deerfield Management.

“Deerfield’s holistic approach to forming, funding and providing operational support to Stelexis has been instrumental in creating a leadership position in a novel targeted approach to treating cancer,” said Patrick Doyle, CEO of Stelexis. “With these funds we are now positioned to execute on our potential to transform patients’ lives.”

About Stelexis

Stelexis is a New York‐based cancer therapeutics company, utilizing its proprietary platform to selectively target pre‐cancerous stem cells to discover and develop transformative therapies.

For more information, please visit www.stelexis.com

About Deerfield

Deerfield is an investment management firm committed to improving healthcare through investment, information and philanthropy.

For more information, please visit www.deerfield.com

Contacts

Deerfield Management Company
Karen Heidelberger
212‐551‐1600   
[email protected]

Stelexis Therapeutics
Patrick Doyle
[email protected]

Stelexis Therapeutics, LLC

In January 2019, Stelexis Therapeutics, LLC, a New York-based cancer therapeutics company, announced that it closed a $43 million Series A financing to expand its proprietary platform to discover and selectively target pre‐cancerous stem cells.

Ribon Therapeutics

In February 2016, Deerfield invested in Ribon Therapeutics’ $24 million Series A preferred financing. Ribon is a discovery stage biotechnology company focused on a specific part of Poly Polymerases (PARPs) called monoPARP (mono ADP-ribose polymerase). These proteins are potential inhibitors to block cancer cells’ fundamental ability to survive under stress.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Deerfield Collaborate to Create the Center for Protein Degradation

  • The Center for Protein Degradation will build upon the work of Dana-Farber researchers Nathanael Gray, PhD and Eric Fischer, PhD
  • Deerfield Commits up to $80 million as well as Operational and Managerial Support

Boston, MA and New York, NY – November 13, 2018 – Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Deerfield Management announced today an up to $80 million collaboration to create the Center for Protein Degradation at Dana-Farber. The goal of the Center for Protein Degradation is to interrogate and advance a large portfolio of advanced targeted protein degrader targets while creating a next-generation protein degrader platform. The platform will utilize knowledge created while interrogating the targets and will continue to advance the science of targeted protein degradation of additional members of the proteasome for therapeutic benefit.

The new Center for Protein Degradation will be led by Dr. Nathanael Gray and Dr. Eric Fischer, both world-renowned scientists, while operational support, management expertise and initial funds will be contributed by Deerfield. Additional funding for therapeutic targets will be provided by Deerfield upon successful proof-of-concept studies.

Current targeted protein degraders work by directing a protein of interest to the proteasome where it is broken down into smaller polypeptides. Protein degradation serves multiple purposes and can be used to interrogate basic biology or eliminate a protein that is implicated in disease initiation or progression from a cell for an extended period of time. This approach may provide more robust therapeutic effects due to complete elimination of protein function as compared to classical small molecule protein inhibitors that target a particular catalytic activity. The Center for Protein Degradation will focus on development of efficient approaches for discovering and optimizing new small molecule degraders and in identifying the biological targets most tractable for this approach.

The Center for Protein Degradation will solicit collaborations from the Dana-Farber and Harvard Medical School community to explore degradation concepts across a wide range of targets and disease settings. Projects will move through a tiered system from proof of concept, to validation in preclinical models and towards clinical development.

“We are excited about exploring the promise of protein degradation with Deerfield and appreciate the substantial commitment it is making to this enterprise,” said Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, president and CEO of Dana-Farber. “This new Center for Protein Degradation will be a critical focal point in a vibrant community of accomplished scientists and investigators.”

“In creating the Center for Protein Degradation, we can advance science and identify multiple novel therapeutics targeted at ending cancers. We are thrilled to be collaborating with Dr. Gray, Dr. Fischer and the entire Dana-Farber team in this first of its kind collaboration,” stated James Flynn, managing partner at Deerfield.

“Protein degradation is potentially a key to unlocking cures for cancer,” commented William Slattery, partner at Deerfield. “The examination of targets with this expertise will create a pathway that goes beyond the normal confines of drug development.”

Paul Hastings, LLP acted as legal counsel to Deerfield. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute was represented by Wolf, Greenfield and Sacks, P.C. and McDermott Will & Emery.

About Dana-Farber

From achieving the first remissions in childhood cancer with chemotherapy in 1948, to developing the very latest new therapies, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is one of the world’s leading centers of cancer research and treatment. It is the only center ranked in the top 4 of U.S.
News and World Report’s Best Hospitals for both adult and pediatric cancer care.

Dana-Farber sits at the center of a wide range of collaborative efforts to reduce the burden of cancer through scientific inquiry, clinical care, education, community engagement, and advocacy. Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center provides the latest in cancer care for adults; Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center for children. The Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center unites the cancer research efforts of five Harvard academic medical centers and two graduate schools, while Dana-Farber Community Cancer Care provides high quality cancer treatment in communities outside Boston’s Longwood Medical Area.

Dana-Farber is dedicated to a unique, 50/50 balance between cancer research and care, and much of the Institute’s work is dedicated to translating the results of its discovery into new treatments for patients locally and around the world.

About Deerfield

Deerfield is an investment management firm committed to advancing healthcare through investment, information and philanthropy.

For more information, please visit www.deerfield.com

Contacts

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Ellen Berlin, 617-632-4090
[email protected]

Deerfield Management Company
Karen Heidelberger, 212-551-1600
[email protected]