BerGenBio completes $9m financing for anti-tumour compound development

19 January 2012

Bergen, Norway. BerGenBio AS, an emerging oncology biopharma company, today announced it has completed an $8.8 million Series A financing round. The financing will be used primarily to take lead compound BGB324 into clinical trials and to develop a companion diagnostic. Lead investors are Sarsia Seed AS and Investinor AS.

BerGenBio CEO Richard Godfrey commented: “This significant new funding from both existing investors and now from Investinor, we believe supports our decision to focus on developing BGB324, our first-in-class Axl kinase inhibitor drug, rapidly towards clinical trials. BGB324 recently attracted a great deal of attention at the annual American Society for Hematology conference in San Diego, where data were presented data showing the compound inhibited tumour development in preclinical Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) models.

"Furthermore we have shown that inhibition of Axl blocks the epithelial-mesenchymal transistion (EMT) in cancer cells and has the potential to delay or prevent metastasis, overcome and even reverse acquired resistance to chemotherapy and possibly prevent cancer recurrence. We now look forward to completing the preclinical work and taking BGB324, into the clinic by the end of 2012, as well as developing an AXL biomarker for theranostic use.”

Sveinung Hole, CEO of Sarsia Seed, a leading provider of seed capital in Norway, added that he was delighted to increase its investment in BerGenBio: “We regard BerGenBio as one of the most promising companies in our life sciences portfolio and are particularly impressed by the way in which the management is driving the preclinical development programme for BGB324 forward and meeting all preset milestones.

"We consider that the high quality of research and development at BerGenBio is the critical factor that has led to this significant funding in today’s challenging financial climate. We see BerGenBio’s success as “seeding” a long awaited biotech cluster here in Bergen.”

Anne-Tove Kongness, Investment Director at Investinor, a Norwegian-government-owned venture investment company commented: “We invest in Norwegian companies that have the potential to truly compete on an international basis. We believe that BerGenBio has the ability to do this by taking what is already world-class oncology research in Bergen and translating it into first-in-class therapeutics.”

Source: BerGenBio AS.

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