Ambit Raises $30M Venture Round, After Pulling Plug on IPO

6/10/11Follow @xconomy

San Diego-based Ambit Biosciences wasn’t able to raise the kind of money it wanted from public market investors, so it has gone back to the VC world for another $30 million.

Ambit said today it has put together a Series D-2 venture round (is that supposed to sound cooler than Series E?). The financing was led by Apposite Capital, and included Perseus-Soros Biopharmaceutical Fund, OrbiMed Advisors, Forward Ventures, Roche Venture Fund, MedImmune Ventures, GIMV, GrowthWorks, Genechem, Radius Ventures, NovaQuest and Horizon Technology Finance.

The company pulled in the new money to help pay for a mid-stage trial of its lead drug candidate for acute myeloid leukemia. Ambit had hoped to raise a lot more, around $86 million, through an IPO, but pulled the plug earlier this week when it found there wasn’t enough demand from investors to get its desired terms. Even though Ambit has a partner in Japan-based Astellas Pharma, the company clearly needed to find cash from some other source than the IPO market. Ambit, in its most recent regulatory filings, said it had a net loss of about $26 million in the nine-month period ending on Sept. 30, and it had about $37 million of cash in the bank at that point.

The latest venture round brings Ambit’s fundraising tally to at least $135 million over the past 11 years. The new money will be used to help advance not only Ambit’s lead drug, but also two others in the early stages of clinical trials, CEO Alan Lewis said in a statement.

“We are very pleased that our existing investors have reaffirmed their confidence in the company, providing us with sufficient funding to pursue our strategy and enabling us to withdraw our plans for an initial public offering,” Lewis said.

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