Aveo Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge, Mass. cancer-drug company, raised $53 million in a fourth round of funding from a coalition of mostly blue-chip life-science investors.
New investors included Biogen Idec, Bessemer Venture Partners, Merlin BioMed Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Vatera Holdings, an investment vehicle owned by Kos Pharmaceuticals founder Michael Jaharis. Schering-Plough also provided a $10 million equity investment as part of a collaboration agreement.
The round also included new funding from existing investors Highland Capital Partners, Venrock Associates, MPM Capital, Prospect Ventures, Flagship Ventures, Oxford Bioscience Partners, Greylock Partners, Lotus Biosciences and GE Capital.
Founded in 2002 by a pair of Harvard cancer researchers, Aveo claims to model tumor biology in sophisticated ways that allow it to identify more effective cancer drugs. Its lead candidate, AV-412, takes aim at epidermal growth-factor receptor, or EGFR, the same cancer-growth protein targeted by current drugs such as Erbitux, Tarceva and Iressa. Aveo says its models show that AV-412 is more potent than other EGFR drugs and appears to be active against tumors that are resistant to Tarceva or Iressa. AV-412 was in-licensed from Mitsubishi Pharma, and is currently in early-stage human testing.
Aveo, formerly known as GenPath Pharmaceuticals, has previously raised roughly $65 million. See the company’s release here.