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GEN News Highlights : Nov 2, 2011

Karyopharm Raises $10M to Expand Planned Phase I Trials with Anticancer SINE Candidates

Company’s therapeutic approach is based on blocking Crm1 protein involved in export of key proteins from the nucleus.

Karyopharm Therapeutics raised $10 million in a Series A2 financing round to allow it to expand a planned Phase I program with its oral selective inhibitors of nuclear export (SINE) candidates for cancer therapy. The fundraising follows on from a $20 million series A round completed last year. Both rounds were led by Chione.

Karyopharm is focused on developing discovery and development of small molecule drugs that modulate the activity of critical pathways in cancer, inflammation, and cell proliferation by targeting the nuclear pore complex machinery that controls the import and export of key regulatory and tumor suppressor proteins between the nucleus and cytoplasm.

The firm’s first target, Crm1, is the primary exporter of key proteins such as p53, p21, FOXO, pRB, and NFκB/IκB, and overexpression of Crm1 has been linked with poor prognosis in ovarian, cervical, pancreatic, and liver cancers, as well as osteosarcoma and gliomas, Karyopharm states. The firm has used its in silico technology platform to identify and optimize novel inhibitory small molecules into lead SINE candidates. Initial clinical trials are expected to start in mid 2012. The firm is in addition evaluating the SINE platform for potential applications in autoimmune, viral, and dermatologic disorders.

Karyopharm has raised $32 million since its inception in 2008. In January the firm was awarded a $1 million grant from the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and just last month it signed an exclusive collaboration with the Katholieke University of Leuven’s Rega Institute for Medical Research in Belgium, focused on the discovery and development of novel SINE CRM1 inhibitors.