Circle Pharma, a South San Francisco, CA-based macrocycle drug discovery and development company focused on intractable cancer targets, raised $45m in Series B financing.
The round was led by The Column Group, with participation from Nextech Invest and existing investors ShangPharma, LifeForce Capital, and the Berkeley Catalyst Fund. In conjunction with the financing, Peter Svennilson, founder and managing partner of The Column Group, and Thilo Schroeder, Ph.D., partner at Nextech Invest joined the board. John Josey, Ph.D., formerly President and CEO of Peloton Therapeutics, was appointed to the board as Chairman.
The company intends to use the funds to advance its work to develop inhibitors of Cyclin A and Cyclin E, and to expand its pipeline.
Led by David J. Earp, J.D., Ph.D., President and CEO, Circle is developing a new paradigm for macrocycle drug discovery based on rational design and synthetic chemistry. The 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 oral administration. Its macrocycle 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 program targets cyclins A and E, which are part of the regulatory machinery that controls the progression of cells through the cell growth and division cycle. Inhibiting cyclins A and E has been shown to be synthetically lethal in cancers that carry mutations causing dysregulation of the Rb pathway.