G1 Therapeutics is adding $33 million for its research efforts into oncology, drawing funding from longtime N.C. pharmaceutical executive Fred Eshelman and others.
Eshelman, who founded and later sold PPD as well as Furiex Pharmaceuticals, is one of the lead investors in the new round through Eshelman Ventures.
Eshelman also joins the G1 board.
G1 named a new chief eecutive officer last May.
Eshelman and RA Capital Management led the round. New investors include Lumira Capital and Boxer Capital of Tavistock Life Sciences.
Previous investors, including Durham-based Hatteras Ventures, also participated.
“I’m delighted to be involved with a growing company that originated from the University of North Carolina. G1’s strong leadership team, seasoned advisors, and pipeline of proprietary drug candidates position the company to be a key player in oncology,” Eshelman said in a statement.
Funds will be used for research related to G1’s lead compound, G1T28. It currently is in Phase 1 clinical trial.
“This financing from new and existing investors is a testament to G1T28’s potential in multiple oncology indications,” said Mark Velleca, G1’s CEO. “We’re especially fortunate to have Fred and Peter on our board, as their business acumen and scientific expertise will be invaluable as we advance G1T28 through the clinic.”
Added Peter Kolchinsky of RA Capital: “Rarely does an entirely novel, orthogonal mechanism emerge in oncology that has the ability to combine with other approaches. There are many inhibitors of angiogenesis, immune evasion, DNA replication, and growth signaling. Shutting down the G1/S cell cycle transition via precise CDK4/6 inhibition is now emerging as a category unto itself, and G1 Therapeutics is the only small company with a selective agent in the clinic. While three pharmas are ahead and have done much to validate this class, we expect significant interest from the many others that already appreciate — or soon will — that they have a gap in their toolkit.”
Velleca joined the venture capital-backed startup from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
G1 raised $12.5 million in venture capital in 2013.. It also has received support from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.
The company is focused on discovery and development of so-called “small molecules” for use in treatment of cancer and in biodefense applications.
Velleca worked earlier in his career at CGI Pharmaceuticals, a company that was acquired by Gilead Sciences in 2010.