Loxo lands $24M venture round and a CSO for cancer drug research

After recruiting a chief scientific officer from Epizyme, upstart cancer drug developer Loxo Oncology has nabbed a $24 million B round from some marquee venture players. New Enterprise Associates came in to lead this round, buying into the business plan of focusing on genetically-defined cancers, with existing investors Aisling Capital and OrbiMed Advisors joining in.  

Their cash will back a scientific team in Stamford, CT, led by Mikel Moyer, who had been working on Epizyme's histone methyltransferase inhibitor drug candidates.

After just 10 months, the fledgling biotech has already moved a lead drug into a Phase I study, which launched just a few days ago. LOXO-101, which blocks TRK signaling, is being investigated for its potential in a slate of cancers, including non-small cell lung cancer.

The company got started with a preclinical cancer drug in-licensed from Array BioPharma and a $33 million A round gathered together last fall. Loxo was founded by Josh Bilenker, MD, the new chief executive officer and a partner at Aisling. It was his idea of advancing new therapies for genetically defined cancers that got the company started.

"With the proceeds from this financing, we are now in an even stronger position to advance our lead asset LOXO-101, currently in a Phase 1 dose escalation trial, and to expand our exciting discovery pipeline," says Bilenker.

- here's the release