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San Diego’s Ambit Biosciences Raises $25M to Advance Leukemia Drug

Ambit Biosciences has gone through several course changes in the 12 years since it was founded. But Ambit CEO Michael Martino says the San Diego company would not be announcing $25 million raised from existing investors today unless Ambit was making significant progress on its current trajectory.

“What the financing represents is a huge vote of confidence by all the Series D investors who have invested in this Series E round,” Martino said in a phone interview. In a statement today, Ambit says the $25 million is the first tranche of $50 million in a preferred stock financing that will be used mostly to advance its anti-cancer drug quizartinib (designated previously as AC220) for acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

As Luke explained a few years ago, Ambit has been working to develop a group of small-molecule drugs that block certain enzymes called kinases, and quizartinib is Ambit’s lead drug candidate. The company says it has completed a 333-paitent, mid-stage trial of quizartinib in relapsed AML patients with the FLT3 kinase mutation, a particularly aggressive form of the disease. About one-third of AML patients, or 4,000 new cases a year, are estimated to have the FLT3 kinase mutation.

Ambit plans to disclose the … Next Page »

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