Cerulean Pharma Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on novel intelligently designed nanoparticle-based drugs, today announced that it has closed a $10 million Series B-1 financing. Existing venture investors Polaris Venture Partners of Waltham, MA, Venrock of New York, NY, Lux Capital of New York, NY, and Bessemer Venture Partners of Wellesley, MA all participated in the financing round.
Cerulean intends to use the proceeds from the financing to advance the clinical development of IT-101, a cyclodextrin-based camptothecin nanoparticle recently in-licensed from Calando Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and to accelerate the preclinical development of nanoparticle-based drugs using both Cerulean’s pre-existing nanoparticle-based technology as well as the in-licensed cyclodextrin-based nanoparticle technology. The cyclodextrin-based nanoparticle technology was originally developed at the California Institute of Technology and is being accessed by the Company through its license from Calando.
“We believe that Cerulean has the potential to transform the efficacy and safety of drugs based on advancements in nanotechnology. The ability to generate multiple competitively advantaged product candidates based on the original Cerulean nanotechnology platform creates a compelling value proposition which has been further strengthened by the in-licensing of the cyclodextrin platform and IT-101 as a clinical stage drug candidate,” said Alan Crane, Chairman of Cerulean’s Board of Directors and General Partner of Polaris Venture Partners.
In conjunction with its planned clinical advancement of IT-101, Cerulean also announced the appointment of John Ryan, Ph.D., M.D. to serve in a consulting role as Acting Chief Medical Officer, effective immediately. Dr. Ryan has more than 20 years of experience in clinical research and development at Wyeth, the former Genetics Institute, and Merck Research Laboratories. Most recently, Dr. Ryan served as Chief Medical Officer at AVEO Pharmaceuticals, Inc., in Cambridge, MA where he focused on building a clinical group for the development of oncology drugs. Prior to working in clinical development in the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Ryan held Associate Professorships at both the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Yale University School of Medicine. He holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics from Yale University and an M.D. from the University of California at San Diego.
“The financing and the appointment of Dr. Ryan will assist us in advancing IT-101 well into clinical development. We also expect to progress additional nanopharmaceuticals with the potential to substantially improve therapeutic utility over existing cancer chemotherapies, thus proving that our platform can be used as an engine for generating product candidates,” said Dr. Oliver Fetzer, President and CEO of Cerulean.