$52M cash boost will help Deciphera push resistant tumor duo

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Deciphera raised $75 million in September 2015 during its series B round.

Deciphera Pharmaceuticals will head to ASCO this week with a spring in its step after raising $52 million in a third-round financing.

Deciphera is scheduled to reveal updated phase 1 data on its tumor resistance-targeting candidate DCC-2618 at the big oncology meeting in Chicago, and said it will use the new funds to push that drug—along with another compound called DCC-3014—into later-stage testing.

DCC-2618 is a pan-KIT and PDGFRα kinase switch control inhibitor under evaluation as a targeted treatment for gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), brain cancer glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and systemic mastocytosis.

The abstract for the 38-patient dose-escalation trial said that out of 18 GIST patients with a KIT and PDGFRA mutation who treated with the drug, 14 (78%) had partial metabolic responses according to the EORTC rating scale. One GBM patient and two GIST patients also showed partial clinical responses to the drug based on the RECIST criteria.

Deciphera raised $75 million in September 2015 during its series B round. At the time, its pipeline was led by altiratinib, which acts on the MET/TIE2/VEGFR2 pathways, but that asset no longer appears in the company's R&D pipeline and seems to have been canned.  

Immuno-oncology candidate DCC-3014 started a phase 1 trial in March in patients with advanced solid tumors as well as hematological malignancies including leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). The drug is a small-molecule inhibitor of colony stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R), and blocks a key mediator—tumor-associated macrophages—that blunts the immune response to cancer cells

Deciphera also has TIE2 inhibitor rebastinib in its pipeline, currently listed as being in the phase 1 stage, but that wasn't name-checked as a beneficiary of the new cash injection in the company's release.

"The proceeds of this financing will be used to advance development of DCC-2618 and DCC-3014 into later-stage clinical trials with the goal of delivering new therapies that address key resistance mechanisms to improve cancer treatment outcomes," said CEO Mike Taylor.