ORIC Pharma bags $55M to attack treatment resistance in cancer

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ORIC’s lead drug, ORIC-101, is an antagonist of the glucocorticoid receptor, which has been linked to resistance to multiple types of cancer treatments. (pasja1000)

ORIC Pharma raised $55 million in series D cash to push its pipeline of drugs aimed at quashing treatment-resistant cancers. The mezzanine round will fund its lead asset through phase 1b and into phase 2 and move a second program into the clinic. 

ORIC’s lead drug, ORIC-101, is an antagonist of the glucocorticoid receptor, which has been linked to resistance to multiple types of cancer treatments in several types of solid tumors, the company said in a statement. The drug is in a phase 1b testing it in combination with various cancer treatments, including the chemo drug Abraxane or with a checkpoint inhibitor in solid tumors, and with an androgen receptor modulator in prostate cancer. 

The new funding—drawn from a laundry list of investors including OrbiMed, Foresite Capital, Casdin Capital, Fidelity, Taiho Ventures, Arrowmark Partners and Invus Opportunities—will support one or more phase 2 trials for ORIC-101. It will also push its second program, an oral inhibitor of CD73, into clinical development, and advance its preclinical programs. 

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"Over the past year, we have significantly reshaped ORIC's senior leadership team by recruiting a new CMO, CSO, CBO, and SVP of Clinical Development, all of whom have deep expertise in oncology drug discovery and development,” said ORIC CEO Jacob Chacko, M.D., in the statement. “This stellar team, combined with a strong balance sheet, enable us to advance our pipeline of internally generated programs. In addition, we are well-positioned to opportunistically and selectively augment our pipeline with external assets that fit within ORIC's vision and that leverage our team's expertise."  

Just last month, ORIC recruited Genentech veteran Lori Friedman, Ph.D. as its chief scientific officer, a move that followed its hiring of Igynta alums Pratik Multani, M.D. and Edna Chow Maneval, Ph.D. as chief medical officer and SVP of clinical development, respectively. And in November, the San Francisco-based company picked up its chief business officer, Matt Panuwat, who had led business development at Prothena and Medivation.

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