Norwegian BergenBio gets Series A financing for cancer candidate
Bergen – BerGenBio A/S announced it has completed an €6.9m Series A financing round. The money will be spent in taking their lead compound BGB324 into clinical trials and to develop a companion diagnostic. The lead investors are the capital fund Sarsia Seed and the state owned Investinor fund, with other investors including Sarsia Development, Norsk Innovasjonskapital, Birk Venture, Meteva and employees. BGB324 recently attracted a great deal of attention at the annual American Society for Haematology conference in San Diego", said BergenBio's CEO Richard Godfrey, "where data was presented showing the compound inhibited tumour development in preclinical Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) models". BGB324 blocks AXL kinase. There is also evidence that the 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”, said Godfrey.
BerGenBio was established in 2007 by two researchers at the Department of Biomedicine at University of Bergen. The company has a proprietary platform technology called CellSelect, which uses information from RNAi screening studies to identify drug targets involved in disease. The company raises high hopes in the Norwegian biotech industry. "We see BerGenBio’s success as seeding a long awaited biotech cluster here in Bergen”, said Sveinung Hole, CEO of Sarsia Seed.