Intellikine Attracts Novartis, Biogen, and Others for $51M Second Round

7/9/09

Drug development startup Intellikine is disclosing the names of the new investors in its latest round of venture financing, which could total up to $51 million, according to a press release the La Jolla-based firm issued yesterday. The new investors behind the firm’s second-round financing are Novartis Bioventures, Cambridge, MA-based biotech powerhouse Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB), FinTech Global Capital, and U.S. Venture Partners.

The names of these first-time investors in Intellikine—which is developing drugs to home in on a hot target in cancer treatment—weren’t disclosed when Luke first covered this financing on July 2 and reported that previous backers Sofinnova Ventures, Abingworth Management, and CMEA Ventures had all chipped in for part of the financing. Intellikine now says that Novartis Bioventures led the round, of which $28.5 million has been closed and up to $22.5 million more can be accessed depending on the company’s ability to reach certain performance goals. The potential total of $51 million is a change from the $38.5 million the firm said was the upper limit of this financing in an SEC filing.

Markus Goebel, managing director of Novartis Venture Funds, has joined the board of directors at Intellikine as a result of Novartis’ investment in the startup. Novartis Venture Funds is the venture arm of Swiss drug giant Novartis.

“Intellikine has rapidly assembled one of the best pipelines against a very important class of drug targets,” Goebel said in a statement. “I am very much looking forward to working with the management team and board to build the company and, in particular, to establish clinical proof of concept for the company’s lead programs.”

Intellikine—launched in 2007 with a $12.5 million first round of financing—is developing compounds that block the PI3K pathway, which studies have shown plays a key role in the survival and migration of cancer cells. It plans to develop its drugs to treat cancer as well as inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Within 12 months the company expects to begin the first human study of its lead compound, INK128, which has shown promise in treating cancer in animal studies.

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