Syros raises $40M to get its leukemia drug into Phase II

Syros CEO Dr. Nancy Simonian

Syros Pharmaceuticals raised $40 million in equity to push forward with its pipeline of genetically targeted drugs, securing the cash it needs to take its top prospect into Phase II.

New investor Deerfield Management led the round, joining repeat backers Fidelity, WuXi Healthcare Ventures, Polaris Partners, Redmile, Aisling Capital and Alexandria Venture Investments. The company, a 2015 Fierce 15 honoree, raised a $53 million Series B in 2014 and got started with a $30 million A round the year before.

With its new funds, Syros is blueprinting a Phase II trial for SY-1425, targeting acute myelogenous leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome patients who have certain genetic mutations. The company expects to start enrollment in the first half of the year, and its new cash should carry Syros through to a first major data readout, "a critical inflection point for the company in validating its novel platform," Deerfield Partner Jonathan Leff said in a statement.

Syros' therapies affect what CEO Nancy Simonian has called "the operating system by which genes are regulated," homing in on key proteins downstream processes.

The latest cash will also support the Watertown, MA, biotech's work on an undisclosed second drug candidate, which Syros hopes to move into Phase I/II study this year.

- read the statement

Special Report: FierceBiotech's 2015 Fierce 15 - Syros Pharmaceuticals

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