Verastem Secures $16 Million in Series A Financing for Novel Cancer Stem Cell Drugs

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Verastem, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing drugs to treat cancer by targeting cancer stem cells, today announced the closing of a $16 million Series A financing. Founding investor, Longwood Founders Fund, was joined by Bessemer Venture Partners, Cardinal Partners, and MPM Capital.

Verastem is leveraging its deep understanding of cancer stem cell biology and harnessing the power of its unique cancer stem cell high-throughput screening technology to identify therapies to treat a broad range of cancers, including breast cancer. It is believed that cancer stem cells play an important role in cancer recurrence. Verastem's founders have developed a proprietary approach to identify compounds with the potential to selectively kill cancer stem cells. The company was formed around the research described in 2008 and 2009 publications in the journal Cell*.

"I believe cancer stem cell-targeted therapies represent a transformative way to treat patients with cancer," said Robert Weinberg, Ph. D., Founding Member, Whitehead Institute, and Professor of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The company was co-founded by scientific advisors Piyush Gupta (Whitehead Institute), Eric Lander (Broad Institute), and Robert Weinberg (Whitehead Institute); Satish Jindal; and Rich Aldrich, Michelle Dipp, and Christoph Westphal (Longwood Founders Fund). In addition, Verastem has assembled a world-class scientific advisory board including Julian Adams, George Daley, Daniel Haber, Yossi Schlessinger, Phil Sharp, Roger Tung, Chris Walsh, and Eric Winer, who will advise the company as it discovers and develops new types of drugs for the treatment of cancer.

About Verastem, Inc.

Verastem, Inc. is a private biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing novel drugs that selectively target cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells are an underlying cause of tumor recurrence and metastasis. Verastem is translating breakthrough discoveries in cancer stem cell research into new medicines for the treatment of major cancers such as breast cancer.

Verastem was founded by Rich Aldrich, Michelle Dipp, Piyush Gupta, Satish Jindal, Eric Lander, Robert Weinberg and Christoph Westphal. Verastem is backed by Bessemer Venture Partners, Cardinal Partners, Longwood Founders Fund, and MPM Capital. For more information, please visit

*Sources include:

Mani, et al., The Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition Generates Cells with Properties of Stem Cells, Cell (2008), doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.03.027

Gupta et al., Identification of Selective Inhibitors of Cancer Stem Cells by High-Throughput Screening, Cell (2009), doi:10.1016/j.cell.2009.06.034

Wade, Nicholas (August 14, 2009). "Screening Could Lead to More Potent Cancer Drugs". New York Times, p. 1.


For Verastem, Inc.
Tara Murphy, 617-520-7045
[email protected]
Lacy Roosevelt, 617-520-7052
[email protected]

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Massachusetts

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Stem Cells  Health  Biotechnology  Oncology  Pharmaceutical  Research  Other Science  Science  General Health



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