Blueprint Medicines banks $50M for its personalized take on cancer

Third Rock Ventures startup Blueprint Medicines has hauled in a $50 million C round, cash that'll see its way through clinical trials and keep its promising platform generating new candidates.

With the money, the Cambridge, MA, biotech will get its top two candidates into the clinic, focusing on BLU-285, designed to treat mastocytosis and stomach tumors, and BLU-554, tailored for a certain type of hepatocellular carcinoma. The goal is to start dosing patients with both drugs next year, quickly establishing proof-of-concept and then rolling into Phase II, the company said.

The latest round, led by Partner Fund Management, will also bankroll Blueprint's discovery platform, which uses genomic profiling to match compounds from a library of highly selective kinase inhibitors with the cancers they're best suited to treat, thereby crafting personalized treatments for patients.

As with nearly all Third Rock-founded startups, Blueprint touts itself less as a biotech working on discrete therapeutics and more as a product engine, honing a system that can generate numerous potential therapies for years to come. That promise, coupled with the immediate potential of BLU-285 and BLU-554, is what drew Partner Fund to the table, the firm's Alex Virgilio said.

"The team has achieved impressive results to date by rapidly discovering and advancing two first-in-class product candidates toward clinical development," Virgilio said in a statement. "We believe the team can sustainably replicate this success based on the strength of the platform in producing exquisitely selective inhibitors to novel genomically defined kinase targets."

Blueprint, a 2011 Fierce 15 honoree, has raised about $115 million in venture cash since getting started three years ago. Jeffrey Albers, who ran U.S. operations at Algeta before Bayer bought it for $2.9 billion, came aboard as CEO over the summer, bringing the experience Blueprint's founders say will shepherd the biotech toward clinical success.

- read the statement

Special Report: FierceBiotech's 2011 Fierce 15 - Blueprint Medicines

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