Calithera Biosciences Completes $40M Series A Financing

Calithera Biosciences, a South San Francisco, CA-based developer of innovative oncology therapeutics, has completed a $40m Series A financing.
The round was led by Morgenthaler Ventures, with participation from U.S. Venture Partners, Advanced Technology Ventures, Delphi Ventures and Mission Bay Capital.
The capital will be used to support the company’s efforts to develop small molecules that directly activate caspases, the proteases responsible for initiating programmed cell death, or apoptosis, in cancer cells.
In particular, the funds will be used to advance one or more caspase activators through preclinical development and into Phase 1 clinical trials in cancer patients.
In parallel, Calithera will expand its technology for targeting allosteric activating sites to other enzymes with therapeutic potential in cancer.
The technology was developed by and licensed from the laboratory of co-founder James Wells, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry in the University of California, San Francisco School of Pharmacy.

The management team of Calithera includes the following professionals who bring to the company both deep scientific expertise and extensive experience in drug development:
– Susan Molineaux, Ph.D., was most recently a founder and Chief Executive Officer of Proteolix, a company that developed proteasome inhibitors.
– Mark Bennett, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Research at Calithera, was Vice President of Research at Proteolix.
– Eric Sjogren, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Drug Discovery at Calithera, was most recently the Vice President and Head of Medicinal Chemistry at Roche, Palo Alto.

Calithera’s Board of Directors includes:
– Susan Molineaux, Ph.D.,
– Chris Christoffersen, Ph.D.,
– Larry Lasky, Ph.D., from U.S. Venture Partners,
– Jean George from Advanced Technology Ventures,
– Deepa Pakianathan, Ph.D., from Delphi Ventures, and James Wells, Ph.D.

The company was founded in 2010.


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