News Article

Tioma, Originally Founded as Vasculox, Scores $86 Million Series a Financing
Date: Aug 19, 2016
Author: Mark Terry,
Source: Biospace ( click here to go to the source)

Featured firm in this article: Tioma Therapeutics of Saint Louis, MO

Originally Founded as Vasculox, But Now Called Tioma Therapeutics, Scores $86 Million Series A Financing

Tioma Therapeutics, with offices in St. Louis, Missouri and Brisbane, California, announced today that it has raised $86 million in Series A financing. The financing round was co-led by RiverVest Venture Partners, including 3x5 RiverVest Fund, Novo Ventures, Roche Venture Fund, and S.R. One, the corporate venture capital arm of GlaxoSmithKline .

Tioma Therapeutics, originally named Vasculox, focuses on immuno-oncology and developing anti-CD47 antibodies to treat solid and hematologic cancers. It was founded by William Frazier, professor of Biochemistry, Molecular Biophysics, Cell Biology, and Biomedical Engineering at Washington University School of Medicine. Its research labs are in St. Louis and its corporate offices is in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Joining the company's board of directors is John McKearn of RiverVest Venture Partners, Peter Moldt of Novo Ventures, Carole Nuechterlein of Roche Venture Fund and Jill Carroll of S.R. One. McKearn will act as chairman.

"We find CD47 to be an extremely interesting target in the evolving cancer immunotherapy landscape," Moldt said in a statement. "We believe Tioma Therapeutics, with its portfolio of diverse, functionally heterogeneous antibodies, is well positioned to test the CD47 hypothesis in the clinic."

Vasculox started off by raising $8.1 million from 10 investors. At that time, Bob Karr was the company's chief executive officer. Karr is now the company's chief scientific officer. Early investors in the company included RiverVest, BioGenerator, Missouri Technology Corp. and the St. Louis Arch Angels. Vasculox also won in excess of $2 million in federal grants.

In 2009, Vasculox received $203,191 from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and in 2012 the company received $706,733. In 2013, the company received an additional $827,018 from the institute. Vasculox also received $150,000 from the Missouri Innovation, Development and Entrepreneurship Advancement (IDEA) program.

Vasculox was a BioGenerator portfolio company. BioGenerator is the non-profit venture development organization of BioSTL. BioSTL evolved from the Coalition for Plant and Life Sciences. In 2011, it announced a $30 million commitment from Washington University in St. Louis, along with BJC HealthCare and the St. Louis Life Sciences Project to promote the creation of bioscience companies in the St. Louis area.

To date, the company has raised about $95.4 million in venture funding, $1.27 million in Feb. 2015, $8.13 million in Aug. 2015, and the latest round announced today.

Tioma's current president and chief executive officer is John Donovan. Before joining Tioma, he was co-founder of Alios BioPharma and was the company's chief business officer and chief financial officer from January 2011 until it was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in November 2014, and ending in December of 2015.

Karr, now chief scientific officer, has been with the company since 2010. Before joining Tioma, Karr held senior management positions with Idera Pharmaceuticals , Pfizer , and Warner-Lambert.

James Stutz is the Tioma's chief business officer. He was previously vice president of Strategy & Business Development with Alios BioPharma. Bradley Keller is vice president of Product Development. He was previously vice president of Research at Lumena Pharmaceuticals until it was bought by Shire in 2014.

David Hinds is vice president of Clinical Operations and Pamela Manning is vice president of Research & Development.