Funding to Enhance Research and Development of Pipeline, Including Lead Program Targeting Activated KRASG12C
Proceeds to Further Accelerate the Development of Foundational Technologies in Chemoproteomics, Covalent Drug Discovery and Machine Learning
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Frontier Medicines Corporation, a precision medicine company seeking to unlock the proteome to advance breakthroughs against otherwise undruggable disease-causing targets, today announced the closing of an $88.5 million Series B financing round. The financing was co-led by Woodline Partners LP and RA Capital Management, with equal participation by Deerfield Management Company. Additional new investors in the round included Deep Track Capital, ArrowMark Partners, Driehaus Capital Management, and Sphera Healthcare alongside existing investors DCVC, Droia Ventures, and MPM Capital.
“We welcome the new group of investors who participated in this financing and appreciate the confidence they have shown in our highly differentiated scientific approach,” said Chris Varma, Ph.D., chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Frontier Medicines. “Between the substantial protein degradation partnership with AbbVie announced at the end of last year and this financing round, we have significantly strengthened our resources to deliver on our vision of developing breakthrough medicines for patients.”
The proceeds will be used to advance Frontier’s wholly-owned pipeline of precision medicines against the most important drivers of cancer. The company’s lead program is uniquely focused on the inhibition of both the activated and inactive forms of KRASG12C, which is implicated in a number of cancers such as non-small cell lung cancer, colorectal carcinoma, and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.
“The ability to target both forms of KRASG12C, which includes the active and inactive states of the protein, with a small molecule therapy would be a long-awaited scientific breakthrough,” said Frank McCormick, Ph.D., FRS, professor of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Importantly for patients, a drug with this dual inhibition may be more efficacious than a drug that targets just the inactive form of KRASG12C by addressing the large majority of patients who are non-responders to first generation single-form KRASG12C inhibitors, as well as those patients whose tumors become resistant to the first-generation molecules.”
Derek DiRocco, partner at RA Capital Management and the newest member of the Frontier Board of Directors, added, “The foundational technologies that Frontier has built are impressive and are uniquely integrated to form a compelling discovery and development platform. In addition to the lead programs targeting notable cancer drivers, Frontier has identified over 150,000 hotspots on proteins of interest that can fuel further pipeline growth across therapeutic areas and protein degradation.”
In addition, the company revealed its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), composed of renowned thought leaders and industry veterans who are an integral part of Frontier’s team:
Joan S. Brugge, Ph.D. is the director of the Harvard Ludwig Cancer Center and also a Louise Foote Pfeiffer Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School. She founded and was previously the scientific director of ARIAD Pharmaceuticals. She received the NIH Merit Award, an American Cancer Society Research Professorship and the ASCB Senior Career Recognition Award. She is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine.
Giulio Draetta, M.D., Ph.D. is the chief scientific officer at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is responsible for overall coordination of research efforts at MD Anderson, from discovery science to drug discovery and clinical translation, with the aim of better integrating academic and industrial science in the quest for cancer cures.
Steven Gygi, Ph.D. is a professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School. His laboratory’s research centers around developing and applying new technologies in the field of mass spectrometry-based proteomics.
William C. Hahn, M.D., Ph.D. is the William Rosenberg Professor of Medicine and chief operating officer of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and is also an institute member of the Broad Institute. His laboratory focuses on understanding the cooperative interactions that conspire to transform human cells.
Kevin Koch, Ph.D. is the former chief scientific officer of Array BioPharma and a venture partner with OrbiMed. His expertise includes drug discovery, medicinal chemistry, and pre-clinical development.
Frank McCormick, Ph.D., FRS is a professor at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and a world-renowned expert in KRAS biology. His cancer-related work with biotechnology firms includes serving as director of molecular biology and vice president of research at Chiron Corporation. He founded and served as chief scientific officer at Onyx Pharmaceuticals, a company dedicated to developing new cancer therapies.
Daniel K. Nomura, Ph.D. is professor of Chemistry and professor of Molecular and Cell Biology, and Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology at UC Berkeley. He is a co-founder of Frontier Medicines and leading expert in chemoproteomics.
Roberto Zoncu, Ph.D. is an associate professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology at UC Berkeley. He is a co-founder of Frontier Medicines and an expert in cancer biology, small GTPase signaling, and autophagy.
To further support its growth objectives, the company also announced the addition of a state-of-the-art facility in Boston, Massachusetts, where the company plans to build its employee expertise across research and development, including discovery, pre-clinical development, translational medicine, and early clinical development. The site will be integrated with Frontier’s South San Francisco, California headquarters, with department and project teams working across the two sites, including diverse talent that spans bench scientists to senior management.
About Frontier Medicines
Frontier Medicines is a precision medicine company that has pioneered a powerful discovery and development platform designed to generate medicines against disease-causing proteins previously considered undruggable. The company is deploying its technologies in chemoproteomics, covalent drug discovery, and machine learning to potentially develop groundbreaking medicines for genetically-defined patient populations, starting in cancer. Frontier is advancing its wholly-owned pipeline of precision medicines against the most important drivers of cancer. The company’s lead program is focused on KRASG12C and is distinct in that it targets direct inhibition of both the activated and inactive forms of KRASG12C. This KRAS mutation is found most prevalently in patients with non-small cell lung, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers. For more information on how Frontier is boldly advancing science to defeat disease, visit www.frontiermeds.com and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.