Gloucester Nails Down $29M to Move Ahead with Late-Stage Cancer Drug

8/24/09Follow @xconomy

Gloucester Pharmaceuticals, the Cambridge, MA-based developer of cancer drugs, said today it has raised $29 million in a Series D venture round as it goes through the final dress rehearsals before making an argument for its lead drug in front of an expert review panel for the FDA.

Gloucester raised the latest round from new investor Novo A/S, as well as current backers Apple Tree Partners, ProQuest Investments, Prospect Venture Partners, and Rho Ventures. Although the total round is worth $29 million, about $8.9 million in the transaction represents previous debt that has been converted into equity stakes, according to a regulatory filing today. The filing also says Gloucester has $8.6 million of equity left to raise in the offering.

The company raised the money at an opportune time, as it is seeking FDA approval to begin marketing its first product in the U.S. The drug, romidepsin, is designed to treat a rare form of blood cancer known as cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, which afflicts 1,500 people in the U.S. each year, according to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Gloucester is hopeful that it will win clearance to start marketing its product, after showing that 30 of 72 patients (42 percent) had their tumors completely or partially shrink in a mid-stage clinical trial.

“We look forward to being able to deliver on the clinical promise of romidepsin as a therapeutic option for the treatment of T-cell lymphomas,” said Alan Colowick, Gloucester’s CEO, in a statement.

With the clinical trial data in hand, Gloucester is hoping to persuade an FDA advisory committee to recommend its drug for approval at a meeting on Sept. 2. The FDA isn’t required to follow the advice of its expert panels, although it usually does. The FDA’s deadline to complete its review of the drug is Nov. 12.

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