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Austin’s Aeglea Biotherapeutics Raises $44M for Cancer Drug

Xconomy Texas — 

Aeglea Biotherapeutics closed a $44 million Series B financing Monday.

The Austin, TX-based biotech company is developing drug therapies to exploit what my colleague Bernadette Tansey has called the “Achilles’ heel” of cancer, exploiting a vulnerability in which cancer cells can import arginine from the bloodstream to keep growing after tumors no longer produce the protein.

“New treatments for individuals with inborn errors of metabolism or hematologic and solid malignancies are urgently needed, and this financing enables us to advance our lead molecule into the clinical setting as well as pursue the preclinical development of our pipeline products to address significant unmet medical needs,” said David G. Lowe, Aeglea’s CEO and co-founder, in a statement.

The funding round was led by existing investors, Lilly Ventures and Novartis Venture Fund, with participation from the University of Texas Horizon Fund. New investors included OrbiMed, Jennison Associates (on behalf of clients), Venrock, RA Capital Management, Rock Springs Capital, Ally Bridge Group, and Cowen Investments.

Aeglea anticipates that its lead drug candidate, AEB1102 (optimized human Arginase I), will enter Phase I/II clinical proof-of-concept studies as early as the second half of 2015. By using established biomarkers, the company says it anticipates that it will be able to identify cancer patients with tumors that will be sensitive to arginine depletion by AEB1102.