Market Overview

ApoGen Biotechnologies Expands Series A Financing to $11 Million and Enhances Leadership Team

Share:

M Ventures Joins Existing Investors to Support Development of Novel
Therapies Targeting Resistance to Cancer Therapy

Stephen Gwaltney and Peter de Vries Join Senior Scientific Management
Team

ApoGen Biotechnologies, Inc., a company developing a new class of drugs
that target the underlying mechanisms that lead to the development of
drug resistance by cancer cells, today announced the expansion of its
Series A financing to a total of $11 million. M Ventures, the strategic,
corporate venture arm of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and existing
investors provided an additional $4 million in the company's Series A.
Concurrent with the financing, Keno Gutierrez, PhD, MBA, an Investment
Director at M Ventures, has joined the Board of Directors of ApoGen.

In December of 2016, Accelerator Life Science Partners (Accelerator)
announced a $7 million Series A investment in ApoGen, with AbbVie
Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments, ARCH Venture Partners, Eli
Lilly and Company, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., Watson
Fund, L.P., WRF Capital and WuXi AppTec's Corporate Venture Fund
participating in the financing.

"Drug resistance is a critical obstacle to achieving optimum outcomes
for cancer patients, and new approaches to overcoming this resistance
would create significant clinical and commercial value," said Dr.
Gutierrez. "After careful diligence, we believe that ApoGen's novel
APOBEC technology has tremendous potential to enable a new class of
drugs targeting the underlying mechanisms that give rise to drug
resistance. We are pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the
development of this exciting technology through our investment in this
expanded Series A financing, which is consistent with our mission to
drive therapeutic innovation."

ApoGen is initially focusing its drug development efforts on an
antiviral component of the human innate immune system, the APOBEC
cytidine deaminases, which have been implicated as a prominent source of
mutations in cancers. Mutations induced by APOBEC enzymes occur
throughout the cancer genome, and ApoGen is targeting this process as a
mechanism for inhibiting the development of resistance to cancer
therapies.

The company intends to use the funding from the expanded Series A to
hire additional staff and establish a laboratory in Seattle. This growth
reflects and is consistent with ApoGen's progress in its discovery and
development activities around its APOBEC technology platform.

"M Ventures has a demonstrated track record of success in identifying
and supporting transformative healthcare technologies," said Thong Q.
Le, chief executive officer of Accelerator Life Science Partners and
ApoGen Biotechnologies. "The fund's participation in this expanded
Series A financing validates ApoGen's leadership in innovating
approaches to address the challenges of therapeutic drug resistance. We
are pleased to welcome Keno to ApoGen's board of directors and believe
that his expertise in drug development and entrepreneurship will be an
important asset to the company as it works to realize the value of its
technology."

ApoGen also announced the appointment of Stephen Gwaltney, PhD, as vice
president, chemistry and Peter de Vries, PhD, as senior director of
biology. Dr. Gwaltney has extensive expertise in medicinal chemistry and
drug discovery/development. Prior to joining ApoGen, he was a founder of
Chrysalis Therapeutics. His previous experience includes serving as vice
president, chemistry at Global Blood Therapeutics; director of chemistry
at Takeda San Diego; and project leader for the DPP4 program at Syrrx,
which resulted in the discovery of alogliptin, a drug now marketed for
the treatment of type 2 diabetes. He is an author on more than 75
publications and patents, was on the board of the San Diego Section of
the American Chemical Society and served on the San Diego Research
Committee of the American Diabetes Association.

Dr. de Vries was most recently strategic director at the Fred Hutchinson
Cancer Research Center and has more than 25 years of experience in
discovery research and drug and business development in the
biopharmaceutical industry. His previous experience includes serving as
director cancer biology and pharmacology at Cascadian Therapeutics;
senior commercialization officer, vaccine development global program at
PATH; and associate director biology at Acylin Therapeutics. He was
instrumental in two successful IND applications for small molecule
cancer drugs. He is an author on more than 40 publications and a
co-inventor of one patent. He was also principal and founder of
Broadview Biotech Consulting and served as a new ventures mentor at the
University of Washington Center for Commercialization.

"Stephen and Peter bring extensive bodies of knowledge in chemistry and
biology, respectively, and demonstrated track records of success in
innovating novel therapies for serious medical conditions," added Mr.
Le. "Each of them will be a tremendous asset to ApoGen as the company
advances its novel APOBEC technology, and we are excited to add their
expertise to ApoGen's leadership team.

About ApoGen Biotechnologies

ApoGen Biotechnologies, Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on the
development of a new class of therapeutics targeting drivers of cancer
genomic mutations. ApoGen is building upon technologies developed at the
University of Minnesota to develop drugs that block a key pathway that
causes drug resistance. ApoGen's drug discovery and development efforts
are directed toward highly selective and potent small molecule
inhibitors of the APOBEC family of enzymes, which are DNA cytosine
deaminases and an important endogenous source of DNA mutations in
cancer. For more information, visit www.apogenbiotech.com.

About Accelerator Life Science Partners

Accelerator Life Science Partners catalyzes the development and
commercialization of breakthrough biotechnology innovations. Accelerator
is a trusted partner that provides the complete business, scientific and
financial toolkit necessary for successfully establishing and operating
an early-stage biotechnology company. Accelerator nurtures its companies
across all stages and in all facets of development, setting them on a
path that offers the greatest chance for long-term success. Among these
key resources are committed investment capital, experienced start-up
management, world-class scientific expertise and state-of-the-art
laboratories and shared facilities.

The company is uniquely positioned to provide this unprecedented
collection of capabilities and resources through its partnership with
top-tier investors, seasoned executive managers and world-class research
institutions. The value of these collective resources has been validated
over more than a decade of successful investing in life science
companies that are helping to shape the rapidly evolving future of
medicine and healthcare. For more information, please visit www.acceleratorlsp.com.

About M Ventures

M Ventures is the strategic, corporate venture capital arm of Merck
KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Its mandate is to invest in innovative
technologies and products with the potential to significantly impact the
company's core business areas. From our headquarters in Amsterdam and
offices in the US and Israel we invest globally in transformational
ideas driven by great entrepreneurs. M Ventures takes an active role in
its portfolio companies and teams up with entrepreneurs and co-investors
to translate innovation towards commercial success. M Ventures has a
significant focus on early stage investing and company creation
including the creation of spin-offs to leverage the company's science
and technology base. For more information, visit www.m-ventures.com.

View Comments and Join the Discussion!