KIRKLAND, Wash., Nov. 29, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Mavupharma (Mavu) announced today that it has secured $20 million in a Series A financing led by Frazier Healthcare Partners and joined by Alpine BioVentures. Mavu is developing orally bioavailable, non-nucleotide modulators of the STING (stimulator of interferon genes) pathway to treat cancer and infectious diseases, and the Series A funding will be used primarily to advance Mavu's lead drug candidates into the clinic.
"Targeting the STING pathway holds great potential for harnessing the body's immune system to fight cancer and viral diseases," said Michael Gallatin, Ph.D., president of Mavupharma. "Mavu's novel approach uses non-nucleotide small molecules to indirectly and conditionally modulate the pathway, and we are leveraging this technology to develop orally bioavailable STING activators with first-in-class potential."
Mavupharma was started by a team of industry veterans including Dr. Gallatin, who co-founded Calistoga Pharmaceuticals and Stromedix and served as vice president and scientific director at ICOS, and Greg Dietsch, Ph.D., who was vice president of research at VentiRx and vice president of preclinical research at ICOS. The company has assembled an experienced scientific, drug development and management team and recently hired Clayton Knox, M.D., as chief operating officer. Dr. Knox was formerly senior vice president for corporate development and strategy at Acerta Pharma, prior to which he held clinical research and business development positions at Merck & Co.
As part of the financing, Mavu announced members of its board of directors. Bob Baltera, chief executive officer of Cirius Therapeutics will serve as executive chairman of the board. Other members of the board are Jamie Topper, M.D., Ph.D., of Frazier and Rich Heyman Ph.D., formerly chief executive officer of Seragon Pharmaceuticals and Aragon Pharmaceuticals.
"Frazier has had great success by assembling experienced teams to build value around innovative assets," stated Dr. Topper. "Mavu, with its differentiated approach to an exciting pathway, is a natural investment for us."
Mavupharma is a drug discovery and development company focused on novel approaches to selectively targeting the STING pathway, leveraging the innate immune system to treat cancer and infectious diseases. Mavupharma recently completed a $20 million Series A financing led by Frazier Healthcare Partners.