Viracta Therapeutics, Inc., a San Diego, CA-based clinical-stage drug development company, held the initial closing of a Series B financing round of up to $18.4m.
The round was led by NantKwest, Inc. (NASDAQ:NK) with participation from new investor Wicklow Capital and founding investors Latterell Venture Partners and Forward Ventures. In conjunction with the funding, NantKwest Chairman and CEO Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., will join Viracta’s Board of Directors as Vice Chairman.
The company will use the proceeds to advance VRx-3996 into Phase 2 clinical studies for the treatment of Epstein Barr Virus (EBV)-associated malignancies via Viracta’s proprietary viral gene activation therapeutic approach.
Led by Chief Executive Officer Ivor Royston, M.D., Viracta is a clinical-stage drug development company committed to advancing new medicines based on its proprietary viral gene activation therapy approach for patients with viral-associated cancers and other serious diseases.
With the financing, the company agreed to the terms of an exclusive license of its Phase 2 drug candidate, VRx-3996, to NantKwest for use in combination with NantKwest’s platform of natural killer (NK) cell therapies.
VRx-3996 is a Class 1 histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) Phase 2 drug candidate. In addition to use in Viracta’s viral gene activation therapeutic approach, VRx-3996 holds potential to enhance the activity and potential efficacy of immunotherapeutic agents, such as NantKwest’s NK cell therapies. NantKwest plans to transition VRx-3996 into human clinical trials in combination with the company’s aNK, haNK and taNK NK cell therapy platforms.