Seattle Biotech Blaze Bioscience Adds $16M for Clinical Trial Work

Blaze Bioscience, a Seattle-based biotech that’s developing “tumor paint” to help surgeons differentiate healthy tissue from tumors that should be removed, has raised a $16.1 million Series B-1 round of funding from existing investors, according a regulatory filing and the company’s CEO.

The funds are being used to complete work on the company’s early-stage clinical trials and to prepare for a late-stage study in pediatric brain cancer, says president and CEO Heather Franklin. Blaze already has clinical proof-of-concept results in brain, breast, and skin cancer, Franklin wrote in an e-mail.

The new funding adds to the $9 million Blaze raised as a part of its Series B round in 2013 and brings the company’s total funding to $33 million, Franklin wrote. The Series B-1 round includes the conversion of some convertible notes that were outstanding, Franklin says.

As Xconomy reported in 2013, Blaze’s lead product candidate, called BLZ-100, is made up of a genetically engineered peptide that the company says binds to and enters numerous tumor types. The peptide, which is chemically linked to a fluorescent beacon, is injected into tumor tissue in a surgical site. A surgeon working to remove a tumor should then be able to see the illuminated tumor next to tissue that is healthy, with the help of a fluorescent imaging camera, Xconomy reported at the time. That would help the surgeon avoid leaving behind bits of the tumor, which could cause relapse.

The company was founded in 2010, and is a spinout from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Blaze is also working to develop an immune-oncology drug pipeline based on a different peptide whose rights the company obtained from the Hutch. Blaze is working with an unnamed pharmaceutical company on developing that pipeline, Franklin says.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at dholley@xconomy.com Follow @xconholley

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