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Merus announced new investors and the sale of $80.5 million in shares to advance its immuno-oncology programs.
Merus, a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company developing bispecific antibody therapeutics, has entered into an agreement with investors for the sale of up to €72.8 million ($80.5 million) of Series C preferred shares and consummated the first tranche under the agreement, the company announced in an Aug. 26, 2015 press release. New investors include Sofinnova Ventures and Novo A/S as the co-leads, along with RA Capital Healthcare Fund, Rock Springs Capital, Tekla Capital Management, and an unnamed US-based life-sciences-focused investor. The company's existing investors, including Novartis Venture Fund, Johnson & Johnson Innovation-JJDC, Inc., Pfizer Venture Investments, Bay City Capital, LSP Life Sciences Partners, and Aglaia Oncology Fund, also participated in the financing.
"The proceeds from this financing provide us with funding to advance our key clinical and preclinical programs and to broaden our pipeline of innovative therapeutics that recruit cells of the immune system to kill cancer cells," said Ton Logtenberg, CEO of Merus, in the release. "This financing follows the progression of Merus into a clinical-stage company. Our first lead bispecific antibody, MCLA-128, has commenced Phase I/II clinical trials as a potential targeted therapy for solid tumors and our second lead bispecific antibody, MCLA-117 for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia, is planned to commence clinical trials in the first quarter of 2016."
As part of the transaction, Anand Mehra of Sofinnova Ventures and Jack Nielsen of Novo A/S have joined the Merus board of directors.
"Cancer remains a disease of significant unmet medical need where targeted therapies that activate the immune system to kill tumor cells hold the promise of providing novel and effective treatment options for patients," said Anand Mehra, in the release. "Merus' proprietary technology platform has enabled the company to build a significant pipeline of promising immuno-oncology drug candidates."