Tolero bags $14M to take its cancer drug to Phase III

Salt Lake City biotech Tolero Pharmaceuticals has raised $14.2 million in Series B cash to bankroll the development of alvocidib, a marrow cancer treatment on the verge of late-stage trials.

The financing will support Tolero's work to demonstrate alvocidib's potential in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), in which the bone marrow misproduces blood cells and can quickly spread cancer throughout the body, killing more than 20,000 people each year. The drug is a CDK inhibitor designed to halt the proliferation of cancer cells.

In interim Phase II results presented in June, alvocidib notched a complete response rate of 70% compared to 46% with standard of care, the company said, meeting its primary endpoint as investigators wait for overall survival data to mature.

Now Tolero is laying out plans for a Phase III study, planning to start enrolling AML patients next year. And the latest funding round, led by Fred Alger Management, will help the biotech pay its way while investing in its early-stage pipeline, CEO David Bearss said.

"Our new and returning investors have provided a resounding endorsement of our approach to discovering and developing important new medicines for patients with cancer and other serious diseases," Bearss said in a statement.

Beyond alvocidib, Tolero is developing three preclinical candidates targeting lung cancer, anemia and inflammatory disease.

- read the statement