Company's Technology and Expertise in Cancer R&D Evolve to Create New Class of Miniaturized Biologic Drug Conjugates (mBDCs) Encapsulated in Nanoparticles
Watertown, Mass., January 7, 2015 – Blend Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company discovering new classes of medicines to treat cancer, announced today that it has secured $21 million in new funding. The new financing includes additional equity investment from a new investor and all of Blend's existing venture investors in an expansion of the Series B round, as well as debt financing from an institutional investment firm.
The proceeds of the financing will enable Blend to fully exploit its proprietary Pentarin™ platform, unveiled today, which creates novel, miniaturized biologic drug conjugates encapsulated in nanoparticles, representing a new class of cancer therapeutics. Including the $21 million announced today, Blend has obtained a total of $39.8 million in funding to date. Blend is backed by top-tier venture investors, including New Enterprise Associates, Flagship Ventures, NanoDimension and Eminent Venture Capital.
Blend also announced today that it has secured a technology license from a private biotechnology company for novel bi-podal biologic targeting ligands that is an exclusive license in the field of oncology. The in-licensing of this ligand technology is a strategic asset for Blend to develop a robust pipeline of Pentarins. Targeting ligands are one of the core components of Pentarins and Blend's platform enables the conjugation of the targeting ligand to a therapeutic payload with a chemical linker to create miniaturized biologic drug conjugates (mBDCs), and encapsulates the mBDCs in proprietary nanoparticles to create Pentarins. Together, the components of the Pentarins have distinct yet synergistic anticancer capabilities: the nanoparticle enables high therapeutic concentration at the tumor site; the small size of mBDCs allows for effective penetration and distribution deep into the tumor tissue; the ligand's targeting ability allows for specific binding to tumor cells; and the cell-killing payload is released inside the cancer cells.
"We are excited to unveil our Pentarin platform as a product engine that creates a new class of cancer therapeutics, and an exceptional opportunity to create value for patients as well as our investors. We look forward to conducting IND-enabling studies to advance our lead Pentarin drug program BTP-277 and completing IND enabling studies of our novel, personalized cisplatin, BTP-114, from our longstanding R&D in platinum drugs" said Richard Wooster, PhD, President of Research and Development of Blend. "Pentarins are an entirely new class of biologic drug conjugates specifically designed for solid tumors, and represent a significant advance in the field since the first development of antibody drug conjugates 35 years ago. We have created Pentarins to have a unique structure, miniaturization and nanoparticle encapsulation that enable the selective targeting of cancer cells and unprecedented penetration deep into tumor tissue, with the aim to improve the treatment of solid tumor cancers for patients."
In the advancement of Blend's pipeline of novel drug programs, the proceeds from the financing will be used to further develop the company's lead program, BTP-114, through studies to enable filing of an investigational new drug (IND) application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Based on Blend's historical R&D in novel platinum drug discovery and distinct from the Pentarin platform, BTP-114 is a novel, personalized cisplatin prodrug with novel chemistry designed to preferentially accumulate platinum at the tumor site, deliver a concentrated therapeutic effect and target specific cancers. The funding will also enable Blend to advance its first Pentarin drug candidate, BTP-277, to IND enabling studies as well as exploring other internal Pentarin programs. In addition, Blend anticipates developing Pentarins in partnership with biotechnology and pharmaceutical collaborators who have their own proprietary targeting protein scaffolds which can be deployed to create novel biologic drug conjugates using Blend's Pentarin platform.
"Blend has made enormous progress to deploy its suite of technologies and oncology R&D expertise to create the valuable Pentarin platform and a pipeline that has come into view and is recognized by Blend's investors," said Omid Farohkzad, MD, Founder and Chairman of Blend Therapeutics and Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. "While the company's mission has remained steadfast – to develop cancer therapies with superior efficacy and selectivity that push conventional therapeutic boundaries – Blend has quietly consolidated its capabilities into the technologically superior Pentarin platform and implemented a thorough and comprehensive intellectual property strategy to advance the field of biologic drug conjugates and have much broader potential impact for patients with solid tumors."
Pentarins represent a novel approach for the application of biologic drug conjugates to the treatment of cancer. Pentarins are comprised of a miniaturized biologic drug conjugate (mBDC) encapsulated in a polymeric nanoparticle. Blend applies its proprietary suite of technologies to create novel mBDCs comprised of a proprietary targeting ligand conjugated to a potent cell-killing agent through a chemical linker. The mBDCs are encapsulated in polymeric nanoparticles to protect them from their rapid clearance and allow for their accumulation in the tumor. As a result of this unique design, Pentarins overcome the biological barriers that limit therapeutic effectiveness against solid tumors. Synergistic anticancer activity occurs based on the multiple components of Pentarins: the nanoparticle enables high therapeutic concentration of mBDCs in the tumor, and the small size of mBDCs allows for effective penetration and distribution of mBDC deep into the tumor tissue.
About Blend Therapeutics
Blend Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company with an innovative platform for creating novel cancer therapies designed to overcome the biological barriers that limit the effectiveness of many cancer medicines today. At the center of the company's drug development is its proprietary Pentarin platform, which creates novel, miniaturized biologic drug conjugates (mBDCs) encapsulated into patented nanoparticles. Blend's pipeline includes its lead drug candidate, BTP-114, a novel, personalized cisplatin prodrug derived from the company's R&D heritage in platinum drugs, which is expected to enter the clinic in mid-2015. In addition, BTP-277 is the first in a series of Pentarins that Blend is developing as a proprietary drug candidate, and Blend anticipates applying the Pentarin platform using the targeting protein scaffolds of pharmaceutical collaborators. The company was founded by three leaders in the fields of chemistry and nanomedicine from the Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH)–Harvard Medical School (HMS), and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): Dr. Omid Farokhzad of BWH–HMS, and Dr. Robert Langer and Dr. Stephen J. Lippard of MIT. Blend has attracted top-tier investors including Eminent Venture Capital, Flagship Ventures, NanoDimension, and New Enterprise Associates. For more information, visit www.blendtx.com .