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Dec 1, 2009

Forma Pockets $25.5M to Advance Cancer Drug Discovery Activities

  • Forma Therapeutics has secured a $25.5 million Series B financing. The money will augment the firm’s oncology drug discovery efforts.

    Forma is trying to develop a new generation of cancer therapies aimed at previously elusive drug targets. The company has a cell-based screening platform that allows the screening of discrete targets in cells and quantitative genome/proteome-wide profiling and target identification.

    Forma is also using structure-guided drug discovery approaches through computational and structural biology combined with its integrated chemistry platform, which incorporates diversity-orientated synthesis (DOS). DOS combines the high stereochemical and structural diversity found in natural products with traditional combinatorial chemistry techniques. This technique seems to work for challenging targets and will allow the rapid optimization of lead therapeutic candidates, according the firm.

    “With this new funding, Forma will focus on advancing our internal target-based oncology programs, and in parallel, we will continue to pursue nondilutive collaborations to further build our integrated drug discovery platform,” says Steven Tregay, CEO. “Our collaborations with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Novartis Institute of BioMedical Research, Novartis Option Fund, Cubist Pharmaceuticals, and the Experimental Therapeutics Centre of Singapore all validate the interest in and promise of our drug discovery technologies.”

    The Series B round was led by new investor Lilly Ventures, with participation from existing investors Novartis Option Fund and Bio*One Capital of Singapore. Current anti-infective drug discovery partner, Cubist Pharmaceuticals, also joined as a new investor through the conversion of a previously issued note. In conjunction with the financing, Steve Hall, Ph.D., a venture partner at Lilly Ventures, will join Forma’s board of directors.

    “Forma has positioned itself to tackle the most challenging targets in oncology drug discovery,” according to Dr. Hall. “The company’s unified approach to drug discovery, via its integrated biology and chemistry platforms, allows Forma to explore advances in the understanding of new and previously elusive drug targets and to translate those discoveries into promising drug candidates for those targets.”



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