Kolltan banks $60M to hit the gas on its cancer drug

Fresh off starting up its first clinical trial, New Haven, CT's Kolltan Pharmaceuticals has wrapped up a $60 million D round, filling its coffers as it prepares for the developmental long haul with a cancer candidate.

Led by KLP Enterprises and an undisclosed asset manager, Kolltan's latest raise should light the way to Phase II for its lead asset, a monoclonal antibody dubbed KTN3379. The drug, which entered Phase I in January, works by blocking the receptor tyrosine kinase ErbB3, which is often overexpressed in solid tumors. Kolltan believes its treatment could work well in tandem with on-the-market targeted therapies, including HER2 blockers and EGF inhibitors, and the biotech is mapping out a mid-stage trial to determine KTN3379's potential.

It's not often a company can fund its Phase II work within two months of starting Phase I, but Kolltan credits its success to the pedigree of its team, which includes veterans of MedImmune, ImClone and the Yale School of Medicine, which is next door to the biotech's headquarters.

"Furthermore, the team has a track record of successful product development from discovery through commercialization and the creation and return of value to shareholders," cofounder and Chairman Arthur Altschul said in a statement. "This financing provides Kolltan with funding to advance multiple differentiated product candidates through significant milestones in clinical as well as preclinical development, to continue to develop our innovative research pipeline, and to create opportunities to fund or partner our clinical-stage assets."

Beyond funding KTN3379, the biotech plans to spend some of its $60 million haul to advance two undisclosed preclinical assets, CEO Jerry McMahon said, looking to build a promising stable of cancer candidates as it continues to flesh out its management ranks.

Since its foundation in 2008, the company has raised roughly $135 million, and its latest round brought in new investors Deerfield Management and Franklin Berger alongside repeat backers HBM Healthcare Investments, Purdue Pharma and Osage University Partners.

- read the announcement