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Yale Cancer Rx Spinout Kolltan Pharma Closes $40M Series A Financing

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Yale University spinout Kolltan Pharmaceuticals said this week that it has raised an additional $5 million to close its Series A financing round at $40 million.

Kolltan is using the cash to develop monoclonal antibody-based cancer therapeutics targeting receptor tyrosine kinases discovered at Yale by Joseph Schlessinger.

Kolltan, based in New Haven, Conn., debuted in January by announcing it had netted $35 million in Series A financing from Purdue Pharma, HBM Capital Partners, the Pritzker/Vlock family, and other undisclosed private life science investors.

The company did not name any new investors in connection with the $5 million add-on announced this week.

"We are proud to announce the closing of our Series A financing and greatly appreciate the continued support of our investors," Kolltan CEO and Director Michael Schmertzler said in a statement. "This is an exciting time for Kolltan as we continue to grow and advance our pipeline."

In January, various individuals involved with founding Kolltan attributed the unusually large initial investment to the involvement of Schlessinger and a number of other entrepreneurs who helped found Sugen in 1991 based in part on research conducted by Schlessinger while at New York University.

Many of the individuals involved with Sugen, which was acquired by Pfizer in 1999, are also part of the Kolltan team. The company hopes to develop targeted cancer therapeutics based on Schlessinger's discoveries of the precise mechanisms of activation of certain sub-families of receptor tyrosine kinases.

According to the company, these findings enable new strategies for selective inhibition of both ligand-stimulated and oncogenic RTKs. Kolltan plans to target several RTKs that play well-validated roles in a range of cancers and other diseases.

Yale has granted the company an exclusive license to certain of Schlessinger's key discoveries. In exchange, the school has taken an undisclosed equity stake in Kolltan and will receive undisclosed royalties on future products. Other terms of the licensing agreement have not been disclosed.

In a separate announcement this week, Kolltan said that it has added three new individuals to its board of directors, including Jonathan Soderstrom, managing director of the Yale Office of Cooperative Research, which BTW reported in January.

Kolltan also said this week that it has appointed Stanley Choy as vice president finance and treasurer and Bradford Middlekauf as chief legal officer, general counsel, and secretary (see related column, People Transfer, this issue).

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