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Circle Pharma raises $45 Million in Series B Financing

March 17, 2020

South San Francisco, CA, March 17, 2020, — Circle Pharma, Inc., a macrocycle drug discovery and development company focused on intractable cancer targets, today announced that it has raised $45 million in a Series B financing.

The financing was led by The Column Group, with participation by Nextech Invest.  All investors from the prior round – ShangPharma, LifeForce Capital, and the Berkeley Catalyst Fund – joined the financing.

In conjunction with the financing, Peter Svennilson, founder and managing partner of The Column Group, and Thilo Schroeder, Ph.D., partner at Nextech Invest were appointed to the board.  John Josey, Ph.D., formerly President and CEO of Peloton Therapeutics, was appointed to the board as Chairman.

Proceeds from the investment will be used to advance Circle’s work to develop inhibitors of Cyclin A and Cyclin E, and to expand the company’s pipeline.

“We are delighted to have these premier life science investors supporting our Series B financing” said David J. Earp, J.D., Ph.D., Circle’s President and CEO.  “With this strong backing, we will expand our team, drive our cyclin targeted programs towards the clinic, and apply our macrocycle platform to additional intractable targets.”

Circle’s new board appointments:

Peter Svennilson is the founder and managing partner of The Column Group.  He was the chairman of Aragon Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Johnson & Johnson) and Seragon Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Roche / Genentech) and was a board director of Gritstone Oncology, NGM Biopharmaceuticals, Immune Design and Constellation Pharmaceuticals. He is currently a board director of ORIC Pharmaceuticals, Ribon Therapeutics and Carmot Therapeutics.

Thilo Schroeder, Ph.D., is a partner at Nextech Invest, a Zurich-based oncology-focused investment firm.  He previously served on the board of Peloton Therapeutics (acquired by Merck) and Blueprint Medicines.  He is currently a board director at IDEAYA Biosciences, Revolution Medicines, PMV Pharma, Silverback Therapeutics and a board observer at Black Diamond Therapeutics.

John Josey, Ph.D., served as the President, Chief Executive Officer, and member of the Board of Directors at Peloton Therapeutics from 2013 until its acquisition by Merck in 2019.  From 2011 to 2013, he was President and Chief Scientific Officer at Peloton, and from 1998 to 2011, Vice President of Discovery Chemistry at Array Pharma.

The continuing members of Circle’s board of directors are Walter H. Moos, Ph.D., CEO of ShangPharma Innovation and Managing Director of Pandect Bioventures, Matthew P. Jacobson, Ph.D., Circle Pharma co-founder, chair of the department of pharmaceutical chemistry at U.C. San Francisco and also co-founder of Global Blood Therapeutics, Relay Therapeutics and Cedilla Therapeutics, and David J. Earp, J.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Circle Pharma.

About Circle Pharma, Inc.

Circle is developing a new paradigm for macrocycle drug discovery based on rational design and synthetic chemistry.  Circle’s 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. Circle’s 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.

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Read original article at Business Wire