Kura Oncology Inc., a La Jolla, California-based biopharmaceutical company focused on treating solid tumors and blood cancers, raised $60m in funding.
The round was led by EcoR1 Capital with participation from Fidelity Management & Research Company, ARCH Venture Partners, Tavistock Life Science’s Boxer Capital, Partner Fund Management and Nextech Invest.
Led by Troy Wilson, Ph.D., J.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Kura Oncology is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company advancing a pipeline of precision medicines for the treatment of solid tumors and blood cancers. The company also announced it has entered into an agreement with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV for an exclusive license to develop and commercialize tipifarnib in the field of oncology. Tipifarnib, a protein farnesyl transferase inhibitor, is a Phase 2-ready program that has demonstrated clinical activity in certain cancer patient populations and that may be further optimized using an appropriate patient selection strategy.
Kura Oncology intends to advance tipifarnib into Phase 2 clinical trials in 2015 to evaluate its activity in patient populations where certain solid tumors are driven by activating mutation in the oncogene HRAS as well as in patients with hematologic malignancies.
The company will use the funds for the development of tipifarnib as well as preclinical pipeline programs.
In conjunction with the private placement, Kura Oncology completed a reverse merger with Zeta Acquisition Corp III, a public reporting company with no prior business operations. Stockholders of Kura Oncology, including those that participated in the private placement, received shares of Zeta Acquisition in exchange for their Kura Oncology shares, and the former Kura Oncology stockholders now hold 100% of the resulting company’s equity in the same proportion as the stockholders owned immediately following the private placement.
Zeta Acquisition has been renamed Kura Oncology, Inc. The company intends to file a registration statement covering the resale of shares of common stock held by new and existing shareholders within 60 days after the closing. Following the effectiveness of that registration statement, Kura Oncology will seek to have its common stock quoted on the OTC Markets.