Tesaro pockets $91M in big financing as major cancer trials continue

With key results expected from its lead cancer program this year, the cancer drug specialist Tesaro ($TSRO) has stocked its coffers with $91.2 million from a public stock offering. The sale of 5.4 million shares of common stock adds to the Waltham, MA-based drug developer's prolific fundraising in recent years.

Yet the biotech has some big development expenses. Tesaro is conducting three Phase III trials for its lead drug rolapitant, expecting to report top-line results from the studies of the treatment for patients with chemo-induced nausea and vomiting in the second half of this year. By mid-2013 the company expects to begin late-stage study of niraparib, a compound from Merck's ($MRK) pipeline, as a maintenance treatment for patients with ovarian cancer.

Tesaro has had a fast start since the former exec team behind MGI Pharma (sold to Eisai in 2008 for $3.9 billion) got rolling in 2010. Rather than building a pipeline with internal discovery, the team led by veteran biopharma CEO Lonnie Moulder quickly secured clinical-stage assets such as rolapitant and niraparib with ample support from venture backers such as New Enterprise Associates, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and InterWest Partners.

Last year Moulder delivered on a plan to go public, wrapping an $81 million IPO less than three years from the Series A launch. Since the summer 2012 IPO, the stock has climbed 78% to $24.48 as of Wednesday morning. This latest financing was wrapped up less than a week since the public offering was announced Feb. 28.

Tesaro, which wrapped up 2012 with $125.4 million in cash and equivalents, says that the latest financing will fund its three clinical-stage programs--which include a Phase I study of the anti-lung cancer candidate TSR-011 licensed from Amgen ($AMGN)--and underwrite future deals to license or acquire compounds and tech.

- here's the release

Suggested Articles

Fifteen of the 22 patients in a gene therapy trial no longer needed transfusions, while the remainder needed fewer transfusions.

Argos Therapeutics is ending its kidney cancer trial and mulling options, including a merger or sale, to stay alive.

CNS Pharma says berubicin is the first anthracycline drug to cross the blood-brain barrier and could transform treatment of the highly invasive brain tumor.