FACIT-Seeded Fusion Pharmaceuticals Closes US$25M Series A Led by Johnson & Johnson Innovation
Financing leverages and strengthens Ontario’s next-generation radiotherapeutics expertise, products.
TORONTO, ON (February 23, 2017) – The Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust (FACIT) and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) are pleased to report that Fusion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Fusion) has closed a US$25M Series A financing, with Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (JJDC) as the lead investor. Additionally, new investors include venture groups HealthCap, TPG Biotechnology Partners, and Genesys Capital, as well as founding investor FACIT.
Fusion’s therapeutic approach leverages alpha particle-emitting technology combined with monoclonal antibodies to target cancer cells with great precision, reducing damage to normal tissues and thereby limiting side effects. Alpha-particle emitting medical isotopes attack cancer cells using multiple mechanisms, including causing the type of DNA damage that the cancer cell cannot easily repair, reducing the likelihood of developing drug resistance. At the same time, alpha particle-emitting agents offer improved safe-handling features and can be administered in conventional cancer treatment facilities unlike previous generations of radiotherapeutics.
Fusion is a spin-out company from the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC), which received OICR funding support from its inception and has grown to be a global leader in the clinical development and manufacturing of radioimaging and radiotherapeutic products. As OICR’s commercialization partner, FACIT provided corporate leadership (through its Executive-in-Residence program) as well as seed funding to launch Fusion and to attract the strategic partners, investors and the larger capital infusion necessary to grow the company, and continue its research around radiotherapeutics.
“Fusion’s platform is rooted in CPDC’s expertise in radiolabelling technologies and provides new opportunities to impact patients with next generation radiotherapeutics,” said Peter Goodhand, Interim President of the OICR. “Thanks to the translational research funding support that OICR receives from the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science, we are able to support initiatives like CPDC; it’s a terrific success story.”
“FACIT’s initial investment in Fusion has created significant leverage with this Series A financing, and has also resulted in a stronger and deeper therapeutic pipeline, along with high-value, skilled jobs,” said Jeff Courtney, President of FACIT. “The Province will also benefit from the presence of investors like JJDC, HealthCap and TPG Biotech that possess deep commercialization networks and specialized expertise in building successful companies. This financing showcases how public and private sector cooperation can create the innovations that benefit patients worldwide and importantly, Ontario’s knowledge economy. ”
Proceeds from the Series A financing will support and accelerate the clinical development of Fusion’s lead program FPX-01, which targets a specific resistance biomarker present on many types of refractory cancers. The financing will also enable Fusion to build its product pipeline through development of its newly acquired centryin-based targeting technology platform, which is in preclinical development.
About the Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust (FACIT)
Established by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) as a strategic partner to accelerate commercialization of oncology innovations, the Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust (FACIT) helps bring these innovations from the lab to the marketplace to benefit patients, researchers, investors and the Ontario economy. For more information, please visit the website at www.facit.ca or email .
About the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
OICR is an innovative cancer research and development institute dedicated to prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The Institute is an independent, not-for-profit corporation, supported by the Government of Ontario. OICR's research supports more than 1,700 investigators, clinician scientists, research staff and trainees located at its headquarters and in research institutes and academia across the Province of Ontario. OICR has key research efforts underway in small molecules, biologics, stem cells, imaging, genomics, informatics and bio-computing. For more information, please visit the website at www.oicr.on.ca.
About Fusion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Fusion Pharmaceuticals is a new pharmaceutical company located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada focused on becoming the leader in the targeted alpha therapy field. Fusion will exploit its unique expertise in linking medical isotopes to targeting molecules to create highly effective therapeutics. In addition to its lead program, FPX-01, Fusion is building a pipeline of products through a protein discovery platform that allows for the rapid screening of new targeting molecules to promote biomarker localization of alpha emitting medical isotopes. Fusion’s technology development team also has proprietary methods for introducing alpha emitters into targeting molecules. (www.fusionpharma.com).
Connie Chen, PhD
Director of Business Intelligence and Strategy, FACIT
Senior Communications Officer, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research