In 2016 Kris Vaddi left a 12-year career at Incyte to start Prelude Therapeutics, a privately-held, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that designs and develops novel, orally bioavailable, small molecule therapies to target key drivers of cancer cell growth, survival and resistance. Now the company has advanced its lead product into the clinic and additional compounds into preclinical development, raised $60 million and expanded its management team.
The Wilmington, Delaware-based company secured $60 million in Series B financing, taking its total investments to date to $95 million. The financing was co-led by Prelude’s two existing institutional investors, including OrbiMed Advisors LLC. It will pay for clinical proof-of-concept studies of the company’s PRMT5 inhibitor. PRMT5, or protein arginine methyltransferase 5, is thought to play a key role in several pathways for cancer cell proliferation, cell cycle progression and resistance to apoptosis. Currently, an ongoing dose escalation trial is “testing PRT543 across solid tumors, myeloid malignancies and lymphomas,” reported Amber Tong in Endpoints.
In addition, Series B funding will assist in advancing other differentiated compounds from the PRMT5 program and strengthening Prelude’s discovery, preclinical and clinical development infrastructure to support a rapidly advancing pipeline beyond PRMT5. The company has established several drug discovery programs. Compounds from these early-stage programs are also expected to enter preclinical development in the second half of 2019 with a potential IND filing in 2020.
“We are very appreciative of the continued support of our current investors, who have been integral to the founding of Prelude and the creation of our growing pipeline,” said Vaddi. “We believe PRMT5 inhibitors represent a promising new class of drugs to treat cancers, including ones that have developed resistance to existing targeted therapies. We are also pleased to have assembled such a talented, experienced and proven leadership team to address some of the most pressing gaps in cancer treatment.”
Joining Vaddi will be two industry veterans. On May 1, David Mauro, M.D., Ph.D., was named chief medical officer. Dr. Mauro comes to Prelude with strong drug development experience in positions of increasing responsibility at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck and most recently Checkmate Pharmaceuticals as its chief medical officer. Dr. Mauro earned his M.D. and Ph.D. from Temple University School of Medicine.
On July 1, Brian Piper, M.B.A., joined Prelude as chief financial officer. Piper most recently served as chief financial officer at Aevi Genomic Medicine, where he was responsible for leadership and management of corporate financing and reporting, corporate fundraising efforts and investor relations. Prior to that, Piper held roles of increasing responsibility in finance, program and alliance management and investor relations at Shire Pharmaceuticals.
Vaddi summarized, “There is an urgent need for medicines that can target critical intervention points in pathways of resistance to overcome treatment failure in cancer. With our strong expertise in cancer biology, medicinal chemistry, and drug development, we are poised to translate the new discoveries into potential treatments that offer hope to people with cancer.”