Prelude Therapeutics nabs $60M series B, gains biopharma veteran as CMO

Prelude Therapeutics is going after both solid tumors and blood cancers. (La Jolla Institute)

Prelude Therapeutics has completed a $60 million series B round, boosting its total raised to $95 million as it looks to deepen its cancer work into the clinic.

The Wilmington, Delaware-based biotech also announced that David Mauro, M.D., Ph.D., recently joined as its new chief medical officer, coming from the same position at Checkmate Pharmaceuticals. He’s also served stints at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck and Advaxis.

The cash boost and the new CMO will help with the startup’s work on its discovery and development of small molecule drugs that target key drivers of cancer cell growth, survival and resistance.

Since 2016, it’s been working specifically on protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5), a member of the arginine methyltransferase family.

The $60 million will go toward advancing Prelude’s PRMT5 inhibitor, PRT543, through proof of concept clinical studies. PRT543 is currently in a parallel dose escalation phase 1 clinical trial for solid tumors, myeloid malignancies and lymphomas.

The company’s also looking beyond PRMT5, setting up several drug discovery programs and compounds from its early-stage programs that will enter preclinical development in the second half of 2019 with a potential IND filing in 2020, it said in a statement.

“We are very appreciative of the continued support of our current investors, who have been integral to the founding of Prelude and the creation of our growing pipeline,” said Kris Vaddi, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Prelude.

“We believe PRMT5 inhibitors represent a promising new class of drugs to treat cancers, including ones that have developed resistance to existing targeted therapies. We are also pleased to have assembled such a talented, experienced and proven leadership team to address some of the most pressing gaps in cancer treatment.”