Karyopharm snags $19M more to expand work on anticancer contender

Investors have put more faith in Karyopharm Therapeutics' lead compound against cancers. The Natick, MA-based company has scored an additional $19 million for its Series B round of financing, padding the $48.2 million raised for the round in May, for a total of more than $67 million. This puts the second-round financing up there among the largest this year for a drug developer.

Forsite Capital Management, which has added Karyopharm to a portfolio that includes public biotech companies, has led the latest financing. New Leaf Venture Partners chipped in too. The investors join Delphi Ventures and other unnamed backers of Karyopharm, which raised $32 million prior to the B round to fund development of selective inhibitors of nuclear export (SINE), which have potential to treat cancer, autoimmune, skin and other disorders.

Karyopharm has three early-stage clinical trials of its lead SINE candidate, called Selinexor or KPT-330, for blood and solid tumors. The drug aims to block protein exportin 1, leading what the company hopes will be a pipeline of SINE compounds that trap tumor-suppressor proteins inside the nucleus of cancer cells. The company plans to advance Selinexor into Phase II/III clinical studies in first half of 2014, and the additional funds from Forsite and New Leaf enable the company to expand the program beyond those planned trials.

"We have been following Karyopharm's progress for some time and are particularly interested in the breadth of responses seen in end stage patients," Jim Tananbaum, managing director of Foresite Capital Management, said in a statement. "We are optimistic about Karyopharm's progress to date, and the broad potential of Selinexor."

Tananbaum formed Forsite in 2011 and has focused on investments in late-stage healthcare companies. Karyopharm is in Phase I trials for its lead product, yet the company plans to quickly advance toward late-stage development with the Phase II/III studies next year. Forsite's previous life sciences investments feature a mix of public and private companies such as AcelRx Pharmaceuticals ($ACRX), Intarcia Therapeutics, Keryx Biopharmaceuticals ($KERX), Puma Biotechnology ($PBYI), Solta Medical ($SLTM), and Tarsa Therapeutics.

- here's the release

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