Ambit Biosciences has gone through several course changes in the 12 years since it was founded. But Ambit CEO Michael Martino says the San Diego company would not be announcing $25 million raised from existing investors today unless Ambit was making significant progress on its current trajectory.
“What the financing represents is a huge vote of confidence by all the Series D investors who have invested in this Series E round,” Martino said in a phone interview. In a statement today, Ambit says the $25 million is the first tranche of $50 million in a preferred stock financing that will be used mostly to advance its anti-cancer drug quizartinib (designated previously as AC220) for acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
As Luke explained a few years ago, Ambit has been working to develop a group of small-molecule drugs that block certain enzymes called kinases, and quizartinib is Ambit’s lead drug candidate. The company says it has completed a 333-paitent, mid-stage trial of quizartinib in relapsed AML patients with the FLT3 kinase mutation, a particularly aggressive form of the disease. About one-third of AML patients, or 4,000 new cases a year, are estimated to have the FLT3 kinase mutation.
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