NGN Capital announced the formation of ACT Biotech Inc., a new company dedicated to developing and commercializing targeted oral cancer drugs. ACT Biotech has entered into a license agreement with Bayer HealthCare LLC for a portfolio of clinical and early stage oncology assets.
In conjunction with the agreement, ACT has raised $12 million in the first tranche of a Series A financing led by NGN Capital, New York. The company has also now initiated the syndication process to raise a total of $20 million, expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2008.
Under the terms of the license agreement with Bayer, ACT Biotech has acquired an anti-angiogenic receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor entering Phase II clinical studies for colorectal cancer, amongst other indications.
An additional program in-licensed in this agreement is a first-in-class multi-mode kinase inhibitor in late preclinical stage with application in a variety of cancer types. The company also acquired several additional preclinical stage programs in oncology. As part of the agreement, Bayer will maintain a minority equity stake in ACT Biotech.
Wolf-Dieter Busse, Ph.D., co-founder of Aerovance, who will serve as Chief Executive Officer of ACT Biotech stated, "We are delighted about our strong portfolio and are eager to advance these exciting cancer drug candidates with our seasoned management team of leading experts in cancer drug discovery and clinical development." In addition, the company will continue to cooperate with the Melanoma Therapeutics Foundation, which is a co-founder in ACT Biotech. The new company will be based in San Francisco, California.
"This license agreement allows Bayer to concentrate on its development program for Nexavar and other primary Oncology assets, while ACT will continue the development of promising, earlier clinical and pre-clinical assets," said Gunnar Riemann, Member of the Executive Committee of Bayer HealthCare.
"With this agreement ACT has obtained a collection of novel small molecule kinase inhibitors, which have the potential to become an integral part of a safer and more effective choice in modern cancer combination therapy," said Dr. Georg Nebgen, Managing General Partner of NGN Capital. "ACT Biotech highlights NGN's continued commitment to attract late stage innovation in drug development," said John Costantino Managing General Partner of NGN Capital.
Dr. Georg Nebgen and John Costantino of NGN Capital, Dr. Nils Behnke of Bain &Co. and Dr. Busse will constitute the Board of Directors of ACT Biotech. In addition, the management team will include Dr. Ali Fattaey, Chief Operating Officer, former Onyx VP of R&D.