RARE Daily

Elevation Raises $65 Million to Advance Treatment for Genomically Defined Tumors

November 18, 2020

Rare Daily Staff

Elevation Oncology said it closed a $65 million series B financing to fund the completion of enrollment in its mid-stage study of its NRG1 gene fusion experimental compound seribantumab.

New investors VenBio Partners and Cormorant Asset Management led he series B financing with participation by Boxer Capital of Tavistock Group, Janus Henderson, Samsara Biocapital, and Vivo Capital, as well as all of Elevation Oncology’s existing investors: Aisling Capital, Vertex Ventures HC, Qiming Venture Partners USA, Driehaus Capital Management, and BVF Partners.

Although rare, NRG1 gene fusions are oncogenic drivers that can be found in a variety of solid tumors, including lung, pancreatic, gallbladder, breast, ovarian, colorectal, and neuroendocrine cancers, and sarcomas. Importantly, NRG1 gene fusions are mutually exclusive with other known driver mutations and are considered a unique oncogenic driver event essential for tumor cell survival.

Following recent regulatory approvals of tumor-agnostic treatments associated with oncogenic drivers, Elevation’s study CRESTONE is designed as a registration-enabling phase 2 “basket trial” to evaluate the efficacy and safety of seribantumab in patients with any solid tumor that harbors an NRG1 fusion.

Elevation Oncology’s lead development program, the phase 2 CRESTONE study, is evaluating seribantumab for the treatment of patients with tumors harboring an NRG1 gene fusion. Seribantumab is a fully human IgG2 monoclonal antibody that binds to human epidermal growth factor receptor 3 (ERBB3 or HER3). HER3 is traditionally activated through binding of its primary ligand, neuregulin-1 (NRG1).  The NRG1 gene fusion is a rare genomic alteration that combines NRG1 with another partner gene to create chimeric NRG1 “fusion proteins.”

Elevation acquired seribantumab in 2019, and the development program builds on prior clinical experience from more than 800 patients demonstrating consistent safety and tolerability. Previous clinical trials with seribantumab did not select for tumors with an NRG1 driver.

In conjunction with the financing, company founder Shawn Leland was promoted to CEO. 

“At the core of Elevation Oncology is the belief that patients deserve the right clinical team and the right genomic tests to match the right therapeutics to the unique genomic profile of each tumor,” said Leland.

Leland founded Elevation Oncology in July 2019, is a member of its Board of Directors, and previously served as the company’s chief business officer. He has more than a decade of experience in medical affairs and business development for the pharmaceutical/biotech industry, with a focus on building collaborations to realize the full potential of targeted and personalized therapeutics.

Photo: Shawn Leland, founder and CEO of Elevation

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