Serenex is ramping up its fight against cancer.
The Durham-based firm that focuses on oncology drug research, closed this week on $30 million in C round financing. It’s one of the largest venture capital deals landed by a North Carolina firm this year, based on data compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Ritchie Capital, a new investor, led the round.
Also participating were Intersouth Partners of Durham; Lilly Ventures, Mediphase Venture Partners, Takeda Research Investment and Seaflower Ventures.
“This investment validates our strategy of building an integrated discovery and development oncology company by combining our emerging pre-clinical pipeline with late stage clinical assets,” said Richard Kent, chief executive officer of Serenex, in a statement. “This round of financing provides us with the resources to add to our development team, advance (proposed drug) SNX-1012 through Phase II and move our internally developed novel Hsp90 inhibitor into Phase I.”
Kent also indicated that Serenex might not be done with the C round.
“In line with our strategy of building a broad oncology pipeline, we have identified a second promising Phase II product,” he said. “If we choose to in-license this we will expand our Series C round.”
In conjunction with the new financing, Serenex also announced that it had licensed rights to develop and commercialize SNX-1012 from Mucosal Therapeutics.
The drug is seen as a treatment for side effects from radiation cancer treatment, such as oral mucositis, or swelling, irritation and ulceration of the digestive tract. SNX-1012 has advanced through Phase I trials. Serenex plans to launch Phase II trials next year.
According to Serenex, some 450,000 cancer patients in the United States alone combat these side effects each year.
As part of the financing, Devin Hosea of Ritchie Capital will join the Serenex board. He is director of Ritchie Capital’s biotechnology venture group.
“The company has a very experienced management team and we see SNX-1012 as a best-in-class asset in a large and underserved market,” Hosea said.
Ritchie Capital, which was launched in 1998, has offices in Chicago, New York, London, Menlo Park CA and three other locations.