WI Harper Group | June 21, 2021 | Source: Business wire
Circle Pharma, a macrocycle drug discovery and development company focused on intractable cancer targets, announced that it has raised $66 million in an oversubscribed Series C financing. The financing was co-led by The Column Group and Nextech Invest. All investors from the prior round participated in the Series C, including Pandect Bioventures, together with new investors including Euclidean Capital, Pavillion Capital, Hartford HealthCare Endowment and Eli Lilly and Company. WI Harper Group invested in Circle Pharma’s Series A of $6.5M in April 2017, firmly believing in the company’s chemistry process development and potential of its highly automated synthesis platform.
Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance the Company’s wholly owned cyclin-targeted programs towards the clinic, with potential applications in Rb-dysregulated cancers such as small cell lung cancer and cyclin E dependent malignancies, including ovarian cancer. In addition, the Company will apply its macrocycle platform to other precision oncology targets that have a clear therapeutic rationale but are considered undruggable with small molecules.
“Circle has made excellent progress since its Series B financing last year and we are very pleased to have co-led this round with Nextech Invest,” said Peter Svennilson, managing partner at The Column Group. “We look forward to seeing Circle’s pioneering macrocycle platform bring highly innovative, first-in-class therapies to patients.”
“We are deeply appreciative of the continuing support of our existing investors and welcome the support of a strong group of new investors in this financing,” said David J. Earp, J.D., Ph.D., Circle’s President and CEO. “The funding will help drive our progress to the clinic and support the addition of new pipeline programs.”
| About Circle Pharma
Circle is developing a new paradigm for macrocycle drug discovery deploying structure-based rational design and synthetic chemistry. Circle’s technology facilitates the design and synthesis of intrinsically cell-permeable macrocycles that can address both intra- and extra-cellular therapeutic targets, and can be delivered by multiple routes, including oral administration. Circle’s macrocycle drug discovery & development platform is applicable across a wide range of serious diseases; the company is initially focusing its development efforts on intracellular protein-protein interactions that are key drivers in cancer. Its lead programs target cyclin proteins, which are part of the regulatory machinery that controls progression of cells through the growth and division cycle. Inhibition of cyclin A is synthetically lethal to cancer cells that carry mutations causing dysregulation of the Rb pathway – such mutations are frequently found in small cell lung cancer. Cyclin E upregulation is found in many tumor types including uterine and ovarian cancer, and is often associated with resistance to widely used cancer therapies, including trastuzumab and cdk4/6 inhibitors.
| About WI Harper Group
WI Harper is a pioneer and leading cross-border venture capital firm investing in early and expansion stage companies globally. With offices in San Francisco, Beijing, and Taipei, the firm actively oversees more than $1 billion in assets under management. Since inception nearly three decades ago, WI Harper has invested in over 400 startups and has successfully experienced more than 100 IPO and M&A exits.
We look for innovative companies and visionary founders in healthcare, technology and sustainability fields where there are high synergies and meaningful value added cross selling opportunities. While our healthcare team is presently honing on bioinformatics and digital biology, our technology team is focused blockchain, big data, analytics, artificial intelligence, AR/VR, IoT, robotics, drones, autonomous driving, as well as digital media and green energy projects.