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Karus Secures Series B Financing from a Syndicate of Leading VC Investors

Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2013
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New investment to support the development of Karus’s innovative PI3K and HDAC6 programmes through early human trials.

Karus Therapeutics has announced the closing of its Series B investment, which includes a first tranche of $7.6 million.

The financing was led by new investors, SV Life Sciences, New Leaf Ventures, Novo A/S and International Biotechnology Trust, who were joined by existing investors, IP Group and a number of Angel investors.

The investment will be used to advance the company's proprietary PI3-Kinase p110-delta/beta and HDAC6 inhibitor programmes through early clinical trials in inflammation and cancer.

Simon Kerry, Chief Executive Officer of Karus, commented on the financing: “This is a significant step towards achieving our clinical and commercial goals. Our development programmes show real potential as potent treatments for arthritis and other inflammatory diseases and as a new generation of targeted cancer therapies. These are multi-billion dollar markets that are primed for an orally available drug with the right efficacy and safety profile.”

Stephen Shuttleworth, Chief Scientific Officer, added: “PI3K-p110delta/beta and HDAC6 have recently emerged as critical targets in inflammatory disease and cancer. The molecules designed at Karus display high potency and specificity for these enzymes, and exert oral activity in preclinical models of inflammatory disease. Our PI3K-p110delta/beta inhibitors also show great promise for the treatment of PTEN-negative tumours and we plan to interrogate their clinical potential as a new class of patient-stratified cancer therapies.”

Commenting on the investment, Srini Akkaraju of New Leaf Venture Partners, said: “Karus has gained key insights in two important disease pathways; the company has a strong management team and I am delighted to be working with Stephen Shuttleworth again, having previously worked together successfully in the PI3K space.”

On closing of the investment, Karus also announces a new and expanded Board of Directors, comprising: Srinivas Akkaraju, Managing Director, New Leaf Venture Partners; Graham Boulnois, Partner, SV Life Science Associates; Martin Edwards, Senior Partner, Novo A/S; Sam Williams, IP Group Plc; Drummond Paris, Independent Non-Executive Director as well as Simon Kerry, Karus's Chief Executive Officer, and Stephen Shuttleworth, Karus's Chief Scientific Officer.

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