Proteome-focused precision medicine drug developer Frontier Medicines announced today it closed an $88.5 million Series B financing round. The financing was co-led by Woodline Partners LP and RA Capital Management, with equal participation by Deerfield Management Company. Proceeds will be used in the development of the company’s foundational technologies of chemoproteomics, covalent drug discovery, and machine learning.
The additional funding comes a little more than half a year after Frontier Medicines announced an it would apply its chemoproteomics platform to identify small molecules for programs directed to novel E3 ligases and certain oncology and immunology targets in collaboration with pharma company AbbVie. As part of that collaboration, Frontier received an upfront payment of $55 million to help identify small-molecule drug candidates.
“Between the substantial protein degradation partnership with AbbVie announced at the end of last year and this financing round, we have significantly strengthened our resources to deliver on our vision of developing breakthrough medicines for patients,” said Chris Varma, Ph.D., chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Frontier Medicines.
Frontier’s lead program is uniquely focused on the inhibition of both the activated and inactive forms of KRASG12C, which is implicated in a number of cancers including non-small cell lung cancer, colorectal carcinoma, and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.
“The ability to target both forms of KRASG12C, which includes the active and inactive states of the protein, with a small molecule therapy would be a long-awaited scientific breakthrough,” said Frank McCormick, Ph.D., professor of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Importantly for patients, a drug with this dual inhibition may be more efficacious than a drug that targets just the inactive form of KRASG12C by addressing the large majority of patients who are non-responders to first generation single-form KRASG12C inhibitors, as well as those patients whose tumors become resistant to the first-generation molecules.”
Derek DiRocco, partner at RA Capital Management and the newest member of the Frontier Board of Directors, added, “The foundational technologies that Frontier has built are impressive and are uniquely integrated to form a compelling discovery and development platform. In addition to the lead programs targeting notable cancer drivers, Frontier has identified over 150,000 hotspots on proteins of interest that can fuel further pipeline growth across therapeutic areas and protein degradation.”
Additional new investors in this latest financing round included Deep Track Capital, ArrowMark Partners, Driehaus Capital Management, and Sphera Healthcare alongside existing investors DCVC, Droia Ventures, and MPM Capital.