Startups, BioPharma

Former Pharmacyclics CEO raises $75M Series B for new immunotherapy startup Corvus

Corvus Pharma, the brainchild of former Pharmacyclics CEO Richard Miller, just raised a $75 million Series B for its line of checkpoint inhibitor drugs.

Bay area immuno-oncology startup Corvus Pharmaceuticals just raised an impressive $75 million, SEC filings show – just on the heels of a $33 million Series A fundraise this past December.

The startup is led by former Pharmacyclics CEO Richard A. Miller – a company, known for chemotherapy drug Imbruvica, that was acquired by Abbvie for $21 billion. Investors are clearly betting hard on Corvus at this point – funneling more than $100 million already into the development of a new line of checkpoint inhibitor drugs for cancer.

Namely, it’s got an oral small molecule checkpoint inhibitor that’s already made it through human safety trials. The drugs could be effective on their own, or in combination with anti-PD-1 or PD-L1 drugs, Miller said in a previous statement. It’ll enter Phase 2b clinical trials in solid-tumor patients in early 2016.

This new round, ostensibly a Series B, has 33 investors participating. The company has yet to return outreach to discuss the company’s activities, and how it’ll use the funding. OrbiMed Advisors led December’s Series A, though other investors like Adams Street Partners and Novo Ventures participated.

Miller teamed up with Joseph Buggy, another Pharmacyclics executive, and OrbiMed’s Peter Thompson to form Corvus.


The company says it also has a preclinical drug in the works that reprograms T cells to make them more toxic to tumor cells. On top of that, it’s developing two other checkpoint inhibitors – one that’s small molecule and the other an antibody.

[IMAGE: Flickr user Tax Credits]