ST. LOUIS, MO (Sept. 16, 2016) – Tioma Therapeutics, Inc., a RiverVest portfolio company developing therapies to treat solid and blood-based cancers, announced it has raised $86 million in Series A venture financing.
The Series A financing included early investor RiverVest along with Novo Ventures, GlaxoSmithKline’s corporate venture arm S.R. One, Limited and new investors, Roche Venture Fund and 3X5 RiverVest Fund II, L.P.
Previously known as Vasculox, Tioma was founded by Dr. William Frazier, a professor at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Its initial seed capital of $2.7 million came primarily from RiverVest, St. Louis-based BioGenerator and the Missouri Technology Corporation, a public-private partnership to promote entrepreneurship and foster the growth of new high-tech companies.
“This is a fantastic example of what St. Louis-based innovation, talent and resources can do to build biopharma companies that will make a difference,” said John McKearn, a RiverVest managing director and Tioma board chairman.
“St. Louis is a hotbed of innovative science,” said Tioma CEO John Donovan. “With great research institutions like Washington University and St. Louis University, not only is there a tremendous human talent pool in St. Louis, but a very hospitable business environment for companies like Tioma.”
Donovan said the company plans to use the $86 million Series A to fund human clinical trials for its lead anti-cancer therapy, a checkpoint inhibitor that targets a protein called CD47, as well as to continue investing in its broad portfolio of functionally diverse antibodies to explore their potential as therapeutic agents in a wide variety of disease settings.
Tioma is building its corporate headquarters in the Bay Area, but the research laboratories will remain in St. Louis, located in the Cortex Innovation Community.
About Tioma Therapeutics, Inc.
The company was founded as Vasculox, Inc., by scientific founders including William A. Frazier, PhD, professor of Biochemistry, Molecular Biophysics, Cell Biology, and Biomedical Engineering at Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Frazier was instrumental in the discovery that CD47 is a receptor for thrombospondin-1, and he has been a leader in the field of CD47-mediated signaling pathways for many years. Tioma maintains its research laboratories in St. Louis and a corporate office in the San Francisco Bay Area. The company has generated a portfolio of anti-CD47 antibodies that have the potential to surmount multiple checkpoints by which cancer evades the immune system. These antibodies are protected by a strong, multilayered intellectual property estate that includes composition-of-matter and uses of humanized anti-CD47 antibodies. For more information, please visit www.tiomatherapeutics.com.
About RiverVest Venture Partners
RiverVest Venture Partners is a venture capital firm focused on identifying and shaping early-stage life science companies to create significant shareholder value. Because of its extensive operating expertise, RiverVest is able to help entrepreneurs achieve near-term objectives that position their companies for exit.
Established in 2000, RiverVest has funded 34 and exited or taken public 20 innovative life science companies. The venture capital firm has assets under management of $282 million.