SAN DIEGO–TP Therapeutics, a clinical-stage precision oncology company developing novel drugs that address treatment resistance, today announced its completion of an $80 million round of mezzanine financing. Foresite Capital and venBio Partners led the investment syndicate, with participation from new investors HBM Healthcare Investments (Cayman) Ltd. and Nextech Invest. Also participating were existing investors including Cormorant Asset Management, Lilly Asia Ventures (LAV), Orbimed Advisors and SR One.
TP Therapeutics will use the proceeds to advance its lead product candidate, Repotrectinib (TPX-0005), into a Phase 2 potential registration study in early 2019 for ROS1-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and NTRK-positive solid tumors. The study will enroll patients who already have received a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) and have developed resistance or were refractory, as well as those who are TKI treatment-naïve. TP Therapeutics will also use a portion of the funds to further develop its internally discovered pipeline.
In conjunction with the financing, TP Therapeutics announced that Athena Countouriotis, M.D., has been promoted to chief executive officer from her previous role of chief medical officer. Dr. Countouriotis also has been named to the board of directors. Co-founder Peter Li, Ph.D., M.B.A., who has served as chairman and CEO since the company was founded, has transitioned into a new role as head of TP Therapeutics Asia. In this role, he will focus on building relationships with clinical investigators and partners to expand the potential for TP Therapeutics’ pipeline in this important global region. Jean Cui, Ph.D., co-founder, president and chief scientific officer, has assumed the role of chairman. In addition, the board has added two new directors: Brett Zbar, M.D., managing director at Foresite Capital, and Robert Adelman, M.D., managing partner of venBio Partners.
“Our team has made tremendous achievements in the discovery and development of truly novel medicines targeting oncogenic drivers in the five years since Jean and I founded TP Therapeutics,” said Dr. Li. “As we prepare for registration studies and move toward expanding our clinical pipeline, Athena is the right choice to lead our next chapter of growth. Her operational leadership and drug development experience are highly complementary with Jean and have shown to resonate both with our employees and investors.”
Dr. Countouriotis joined TP Therapeutics in May 2018 as chief medical officer and executive vice president. Athena has broad oncology biotech leadership experience guiding multiple development programs through to market approval. She previously served as senior vice president and chief medical officer at Adverum Biotechnologies, and prior to that served in the same role at Halozyme Therapeutics. Additionally, she served as chief medical officer at Ambit Biosciences, leading the development of Quizartinib through the company’s initial public offering and acquisition by Daiichi Sankyo. Dr. Countouriotis also worked at Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb in various clinical development roles for Sutent®, Mylotarg®, Bosulif®, and Sprycel®.
“I am honored to have the trust of our founders and our board as TP Therapeutics moves even closer to the patients it seeks to serve,” said Dr. Countouriotis. “With the completion of the mezzanine financing, we are well funded to execute on our clinical and preclinical programs. I am pleased we have attracted this top-tier syndicate of investors.”
Dr. Zbar commented: “TP Therapeutics has made great progress in the development of Repotrectinib, evidenced by the highly encouraging interim Phase 1 data presented recently at the World Conference on Lung Cancer. Targeted oncology is an area of focus for us, and the Foresite Capital team welcomes the opportunity to work closely with Athena again in her expanded leadership role.”
Dr. Adelman added: “From the early discovery research to Phase 1 clinical development, the team at TP Therapeutics has been thoughtful in its approach to develop a truly differentiated therapy with potential to address some of the most difficult kinase fusions and their mutations. We look forward to working with Athena and the management team to advance Repotrectinib into the Phase 2 clinical study and ultimately build on its early success with the other novel assets in TP Therapeutics’ pipeline.”
About TP Therapeutics Inc.
TP Therapeutics is a clinical-stage precision oncology company forging a new path for targeted cancer care. Founded in October 2013 by Dr. J. Jean Cui, the lead inventor of Pfizer’s oncology drugs crizotinib and lorlatinib, the company is developing a pipeline of novel drugs that aim to tackle treatment resistance and give new hope to patients who have stopped responding to available targeted therapies. Mounting clinical data for the company’s lead program, a next-generation kinase inhibitor targeting genetic drivers of non-small cell lung cancer and advanced solid tumors, has shown ongoing antitumor activity and durable responses among treatment-naïve and pre-treated patients. With additional programs underway to address similarly intractable oncogenic drivers, TP Therapeutics is marking a turning point in the way solid-tumor cancers are treated. For more information, visit www.tptherapeutics.com.
About Repotrectinib (TPX-0005)
Repotrectinib (TPX-0005) is a potent and orally bioavailable investigational small-molecule inhibitor of ALK, ROS1 and TRK family kinases. The clinical benefits of targeting ALK, ROS1 or TRK fusion kinases have been demonstrated with multiple kinase inhibitors already approved for the treatment of ALK+ non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), in addition to crizotinib for ROS1+ NSCLC, and larotrectinib and entrectinib in clinical studies for TRK+ cancers. The successes of these therapies are overshadowed by the development of acquired resistance. The acquired solvent front mutations including ALK G1202R, ROS1 G2032R, TRKA G595R and TRKC G623R render a common clinical resistance to the current ALK, ROS1, and TRK inhibitors.
Repotrectinib has demonstrated potency against wildtype and mutated ALK, ROS1 and TRK family kinases, especially the clinically significant solvent front mutations, gatekeeper mutations, and emerging compound mutations after multiple lines of treatment. Repotrectinib may provide a new opportunity to inhibit the abnormal signaling of ALK, ROS1, or TRK family kinases in solid malignancies, and overcome multiple resistance mechanisms seen in refractory patients. Repotrectinib is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1/2, open-label, multi-center, first-in-human study of the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and anti-tumor activity in patients with advanced solid tumors harboring ALK, ROS1, or NTRK1-3 rearrangements (TRIDENT-1 study, www.clinicaltrials.gov number NCT03093116). Interested patients and physicians can contact the TP Therapeutics Oncology Clinical Trial Hotline at 1-858-276-0005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Foresite Capital
Foresite Capital is a multi-stage healthcare and life sciences investment firm with $2.2 billion in assets under management. The firm aims to address areas of great unmet medical need by funding and supporting promising healthcare and life sciences businesses with transformative products and services at all stages of their life cycles. Foresite Capital takes a collaborative approach to investing with its portfolio companies by providing a multidisciplinary team of scientists, engineers, analysts, and clinicians who understand the unique business models in healthcare. Foresite Capital is based in San Francisco with an office in New York. For more information, please visit www.foresitecapital.com.
venBio is a life sciences investment firm that partners with industry leaders to build and invest in innovative medicines and technologies, with a focus on novel therapeutics for unmet medical needs. See: www.venbio.com.