Acetylon grabs $27M in venture cash for next-gen HDAC inhibitor

A little less than two years since it closed its Series A round, Boston-based Acetylon Pharmaceuticals has gone back to its investors for $27 million to fund continued work on a next-gen HDAC inhibitor. But don't look for a crew of big-name venture groups in its release. Most of the money came from a group of private individuals, with a significant chunk from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Their cash will fuel a major transition for the biotech company, which plans to launch a Phase I/II study for ACY-1215. The biotech says that ACY-1215 selectively inhibits the intracellular enzyme HDAC6, leading to inactivation of the "aggresome" pathway for degradation of damaged proteins. The accumulation of excess waste protein in malignant cells triggers programmed cell death, called "apoptosis," in stressed cancer cells, "with little or no effect on normal cells."

"We are very pleased to have been able to raise now a total of $40 million from private investors as well as non-profit and Federal grant sources dedicated to helping us bring our lead drug candidate, ACY-1215, into clinical trials for patients with multiple myeloma and other cancers," said CEO Walter C. Ogier. "We also plan to use a portion of the new Series B financing for the preclinical advancement of our additional selective HDAC inhibitor drug candidates for non-cancer disease indications including autoimmune and other inflammatory diseases and to bolster our discovery pipeline."

- see the Acetylon release