Nuvation Bio peeked out from stealth mode Monday to reveal $275 million in financing and an executive team stacked with biotech veterans.
The cancer drug developer, which has offices in New York and San Francisco, is led by founder, president, and CEO David Hung, the former chief executive who steered Medivation to a $14.3 billion buyout by Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) in 2016. The crown jewel of that acquisition was prostate cancer drug enzalutamide (Xtandi), a blockbuster seller. The drug was approved in 2012 to treat patients whose prostate cancer has not responded to chemotherapy.
Following Medivation’s acquisition, Hung was appointed CEO of Axovant Sciences, a subsidiary of Roivant Sciences. But he left last year after Axovant’s lead drug failed clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies.
While Hung says he is proud of what Medivation accomplished, he believes the company could have done even more with more time, according to a statement from the new company. Hung adds that Nuvation Bio aims to expand on the work that started with Medivation, and the new company is staffed with a number of former Medivation employees. The executive team also includes Chief Scientific Officer Gary Hattersly, formerly of Radius Health (NASDAQ: RDUS), and Chief Medical Officer Sergey Yurasov, who was most recently CMO at Immune Design.
For now, Nuvation Bio is staying tight-lipped about the cancers it is targeting and the way that its drugs could work. But the company says its pipeline has seven oncology programs, each one distinct and capable of producing multiple drug candidates.
Omega Funds led Nuvation Bio’s Series A round of financing. Other investors include Aisling Capital, Altitude Life Science Ventures, The Baupost Group, Boxer Capital of the Tavistock Group, EDBI, ECOR1 Capital, Fidelity Management and Research Company, Pavilion Capital, Perceptive Advisors, Redmile Group, Surveyor Capital, and other unnamed institutional investors.
Image by the National Cancer Institute