Tesaro lands $101M B round as it preps for new cancer drug acquisitions

The veteran crew of cancer drug developers at MGI Pharma who went on to found Tesaro a little more than a year ago have rounded up a whopping $101 million B round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The cash gives the Boston-based biotech more cash to follow up on its late-stage plans for a lead drug program as well as a sizeable fund for new deals.

"This new capital will fully fund the development of rolapitant through Phase III clinical trials and potential regulatory submissions, and advance the ALK inhibitor program into a clinical trial assessing safety and activity in cancer patients," says CEO Lonnie Moulder. "It will also allow us to continue to leverage the experience and competencies of our team to acquire and develop promising drug candidates with the goal of commercializing meaningful products for the treatment and support of cancer patients."

The executive crew that founded Tesaro and quickly scooped up a $20 million Series A last spring were behind the $3.9 billion sale of MGI Pharma to Eisai back in 2008. This new round included founding investor New Enterprise Associates and a lineup of new investors: InterWest Partners, T. Rowe Price, Pappas Ventures, Oracle Partners, Deerfield Management and Leerink Swann.

Rolapitant is described as a "Phase III-ready" neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist being developed for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Back in March of this year Tesaro announced that it had in-licensed small molecule inhibitors of Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK) from Amgen. The ALK program represents a molecularly targeted approach to treating certain cancer sub-populations.

- here's the Tesaro release