Tarveda Therapeutics, a cancer drug developer focused on developing miniaturized drug conjugates called Pentarins™, said today it has completed a $30 million Series D equity financing.

Tarveda said it would use the proceeds, as well as $38 million raised last year, to advance its Pentarin platform. The company said it plans to complete Phase I dose-escalation and safety studies of PEN-221, a miniaturized conjugate targeting somatostatin receptor 2 (SSTR2) that is expressed in neuroendocrine and small-cell lung cancers, as well as launching and advancing Phase IIa studies.

The company added that its funding will enable it to conduct Phase I dose-escalation and safety studies of PEN-866, a miniaturized heat shock protein 90 (HSP90)-targeting drug conjugate for use in advanced, topoisomerase 1-sensitive cancer patients, as well as to develop additional candidates from the Pentarin platform.

“We are now poised to move our second candidate, PEN-866, into clinical trials this year, and are well capitalized to conduct advanced proof-of-concept studies for both PEN-221 and PEN-866,” Tarveda president and CEO Drew Fromkin said in a statement. “In parallel, we will apply our Pentarin discovery platform to create new selective and potent cancer therapeutics to augment our pipeline as well as attract potential collaborators.”

Pentarins consist of a targeting ligand conjugated to a potent cell-killing agent through an optimized chemical linker. The miniaturized drug conjugates are designed to bind to their tumor cell targets, as well as provide sustained release of their potent therapeutic payloads deep into solid tumor tissue.

According to Tarveda, Pentarins are designed to overcome the deficits of both larger antibody drug conjugates and small molecules that limit their therapeutic effectiveness against solid tumors.

New investor Versant Ventures led the financing, with participation by existing investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Novo A/S, NanoDimension, and Flagship Pioneering.

“Tarveda’s rapidly maturing pipeline, including two clinical-stage candidates, demonstrates the prolific nature of the Pentarin discovery and development engine,” added Guido Magni, M.D., Ph.D., partner at Versant Ventures, who will join Tarveda’s board of directors.

Tarveda—formerly known as Blend Therapeutics—completed a $38 million Series C financing in January 2016, led by NEA and Novo A/S.

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