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27 Jan 2016

Blend Therapeutics secures $38 million in Series C financing and changes name to Tarveda Therapeutics

Company to focus on pipeline of Pentarins as a unique and promising approach to treating solid tumour cancers.

Tarveda Therapeutics, formerly Blend Therapeutics, has secured $38 million in Series C financing co-led by new investor Novo A/S and existing investor New Enterprise Associates (NEA). The company also announced the change of its corporate brand to clearly highlight the company’s differentiated approach to treating cancer.

The name Tarveda represents the company’s distinct approach, based on its proprietary Pentarin platform and deep knowledge of solid tumour biology, to developing cancer drug conjugates that possess the attributes required to successfully treat solid tumour cancers. Pentarins are miniaturized biologic drug conjugates designed to target, penetrate and treat solid tumours while overcoming certain key limitations seen with antibody drug conjugates and other, larger cancer drugs.

“We are changing the corporate brand to Tarveda to mark our focus on a promising pipeline of Pentarins. Pentarins have demonstrated potential for the treatment of a broad range of solid tumors including neuroendocrine and small cell lung cancers,” said Drew Fromkin, President and CEO of Tarveda Therapeutics. “This financing will accelerate our progress in advancing Pentarin candidates into the clinic to treat cancer patients with solid tumours where large unmet needs remain. We are pleased that we have attracted an outstanding syndicate of life sciences investors with strong financial and sector experience to assist Tarveda in becoming a leading innovator of cancer therapies during this exciting time for our company.”

Proceeds from the Series C financing will be used to advance a pipeline of Pentarins that Tarveda is developing for a range of solid tumour targets. In particular, the funding will support the advancement of Tarveda’s lead drug candidate, PEN-221, into Phase I clinical studies in mid-2016. PEN-221 is designed to target the somatostatin receptor for treatment of patients with neuroendocrine cancers including small cell lung cancer. With the availability of diagnostic tools to identify patients with over-expression of the somatostatin receptor in their tumours, Tarveda is employing a targeted strategy for clinical development by enrolling patients in the Phase I study who have been identified as most likely to benefit from treatment with PEN-221.

“PEN-221’s design and approach is consistent with the desired patient stratification seen with leading edge oncology programs today, and represents a rare and exciting opportunity to address a significant need for improved neuroendocrine cancer medicines. We are excited to join a top-tier syndicate of investors who are looking to address today’s challenges with the treatment of solid tumour cancers and advance Tarveda’s Pentarins into the clinic,” said Nilesh Kumar, Senior Principal at Novo Ventures (US) Inc.

“This financing recognizes the promising opportunity for Tarveda to create a pipeline of Pentarins to treat a wide range of solid tumours. Tarveda’s technology represents a unique and improved approach to such tumour targeting, and I have great confidence in the ability of Tarveda’s integrated scientific, clinical and business team to successfully advance Pentarins into clinical trials and make a meaningful impact in the treatment of cancer,” said Dr Frank Torti, Partner at NEA.

In addition to lead investors Novo A/S and NEA, the Series C financing includes participation from other existing investors Flagship Ventures, NanoDimension and Eminent Venture Capital. Concurrent with the financing, Nilesh Kumar of Novo Ventures (US) Inc. and Frank Torti, M.D. of NEA will join Tarveda’s Board of Directors and Drew Fromkin will serve as interim Chairman of the Board.

With Tarveda’s strategic focus on Pentarins, the company’s innovative platinum drug candidate, BTP-114, has been transitioned into a newly formed, independent company, Placon Therapeutics. BTP-114 is a novel platinum drug candidate, which has an approved Investigational New Drug (IND) application from the FDA. BTP-114 is ready to enter clinical development, and Placon is seeking a strategic partner to advance its clinical development.

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