$55M investment will help McMaster spin-off company put cancer in the crosshairs

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Fusion Pharmaceuticals, a new pharmaceutical company that started on the McMaster campus, has completed its initial round of financing, securing a further $21-million USD. The company has now raised US$46-million ($55M CDN) from a group of international investors.

“We are delighted by the significant interest in Fusion Pharmaceuticals, which is driven by the excitement around our pipeline as well as the precision and potency that can be achieved through targeted delivery of medical isotopes that emit alpha particles,” said John Valliant, Fusion’s Chief Executive Officer and McMaster’s Canada Research Chair in Medial Isotopes and Molecular Imaging Probes and a Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology.

Fusion’s lead product, known as FPX-01, has been designed to seek out and infiltrate cancer cells and deliver a lethal and highly localized dose of radiation. In short, it can target and damage the very DNA of the cancer cells so they cannot grow back.

The company is planning to begin clinical trials in 2018.

New investors in the second closing include Adams Street Partners, Seroba Life Sciences, and Varian Medical Systems Inc., who join the existing group of international investors, FACIT, Genesys Capital, HealthCap, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., and TPG Biotech.

“This is exciting growth for Fusion and for Hamilton’s life sciences sector,” says Rob Baker, McMaster’s vice-president Research. “McMaster prioritizes the commercialization of our research and this is another example of the impact and importance of innovation and research excellence to Hamilton and our region.”

“Fusion will use the additional funds to accelerate the clinical development of our lead program FPX-01, expand our pipeline through in-licensing targeting molecules and form new strategic partnerships,” says Valliant.

Fusion Pharmaceuticals is a spinout from the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC), which is a  Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) located at McMaster University . The CPDC, which was created with the support of multiple stakeholders, including the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), has rapidly become a world leader in the development, translation and manufacturing of radiopharmaceuticals.

Fusion Pharmaceuticals is also developing centyrin-based alpha therapies against a series of cancer markers. Centyrins are small proteins that are characterized by high selectivity and specificity, combined with tunable pharmaceutical properties and efficient manufacturing. Fusion obtained the candidates through two licensing agreements with Janssen Biotech, Inc. in transactions facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation.

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