MEI Pharma raises $27.5 million from instutional investors to develop cancer drug

  MEI Pharma, a San Diego-based subsidiary of Australian firm Novogen limited that is  focused on developing clinical cancer therapies has raised $27.5 million. The investment into MEI Pharma, which trades on the Nasdaq, comes from new investors including Vivo Ventures and New Leaf Venture Partners, who led the round, as well as from Three […]

 

MEI Pharma, a San Diego-based subsidiary of Australian firm Novogen limited that is  focused on developing clinical cancer therapies has raised $27.5 million.

The investment into MEI Pharma, which trades on the Nasdaq, comes from new investors including Vivo Ventures and New Leaf Venture Partners, who led the round, as well as from Three Arch Opportunity Fund and RA Capital Management. The transaction occurred with a mix of warrants on the common stock and outright sales of the common stock of MEI Pharma.

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The investors appear to be excited for the prospects of Pracinostat, a  histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor that the company acquired in August. HDAC inhibitors are part of  a “larger set of proteins collectively known as epigenetic regulators that can alter gene expression by chemically modifying DNA or its associated chromosomal proteins,’ according to MEI Pharma’s website. These regulators are thought to be potential markers of cancer.

“”We and Vivo Ventures are excited to have had the opportunity to build a high-quality syndicate of long-term investors that allows MEI Pharma to aggressively pursue development of Pracinostat,” said Dr. Srini Akkaraju, Managing Director at New Leaf Venture Partners, in a news release. “We are particularly encouraged by Pracinostat’s evidence of clinical activity in hematologic malignancies with large unmet medical needs, such as myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia.”

The funds will be used in the clinical development of Pracinostat.

“We are very pleased with the success of this capital raise and the expression of confidence from high-quality healthcare investors such as Vivo Ventures and New Leaf Venture Partners,” said Daniel P. Gold, President and CEO of MEI Pharma, in a news release. “We believe that this financing will enable us to execute the optimal clinical development and marketing approval strategy for Pracinostat, as well as continue the development of our earlier stage drug candidates.