Olema Oncology grabs $54M for breast cancer program

Olema Oncology, a biotech focused on women’s cancers, raised $54 million to push its lead program into the clinic and boost its R&D efforts in other areas.

The capital will bankroll a phase 1/2 study of the asset, OP-1250, as a single agent. Olema will test the drug, a complete estrogen receptor antagonist, in patients with ER-positive, HER2-negative breast cancers that have come back in spite of other treatments or that have spread locally or to other parts of the body.

The phase 1/2 dose escalation trial is slated for the second half of 2020. Studies combining OP-1250 with other targeted breast cancer treatments will follow, the company said in a statement.

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BVF Partners, Logos Capital and Janus Henderson Investors led the series B round, with Cormorant Asset Management, RA Capital Management, Wellington Management Company, Citadel’s Surveyor Capital, Venrock and Foresite Capital also chipping in.

"We are delighted to have the support of this premier syndicate of investors who share our commitment to developing targeted therapies designed to improve the lives of women living with breast cancer," said Olema CEO Cyrus Harmon, Ph.D., in the statement.

"With our deep insight into the biology of breast cancer, including target engagement, receptor binding and intracellular signaling, we have carefully selected OP-1250 as our lead program and are advancing it into human studies,” Harmon added. “Our goal is to develop more effective medicines to treat estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer."