San Diego’s Aragon Raises $42 Million, Targets Hormone-Driven Cancers

3/6/12Follow @bvbigelow

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the estrogen receptor, but also causes it to be degraded, Heyman says.

With the hefty, $42 million round announced today, Aragon says it has raised a total of $72 million since 2009. As Aragon sought to raise its Series C funding, Heyman tells me, “We wanted an investor that had both deep pockets as well as potential links to hedge funds, private equity, or even [help us move toward] an IPO.”

The Topspin Fund should more than satisfy that criteria, Heyman says. It was founded in recent years by Jim Simons, founding CEO of the New York hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, and two other investors, Leo Guthart and Steve Winick.

In a statement from Aragon says, “The addition of an investor like Topspin with a like-minded vision and considerable financial resources strategically provides Aragon with access to significant capital in the future. We are also tremendously excited about the progress we’ve made with our pipeline.”

In conjunction with the financing, Aragon says Topspin’s Guthart will join Aragon’s board. Carol Gallagher, who headed Seattle-based Calistoga Pharmaceuticals before it was acquired last year in a $600 million deal with Gilead Sciences (and a San Diego Xconomist), also is joining Aragon’s board as an independent director.

In Aragon’s statement, Simon is quoted as saying, “The combination of Aragon’s high-quality management team, strong investor base, and its novel insights into two of the most-validated targets in oncology make the company an attractive investment.”

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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