NEW YORK – Cyteir Therapeutics on Thursday said it has closed an oversubscribed $80 million Series C financing round and that it will use the funds to take its lead synthetic lethal compound CYT-0851 into Phase II trials.
The financing was led by RA Capital Management, Janus Henderson Investors, Acuta Capital Partners, Ally Bridge Group, Avidity Partners, Ample Plus Fund, and CaaS Capital Management, and included existing investors Novo Holdings, Venrock, Lightstone Ventures, DROIA Ventures, Osage University Partners, as well as an undisclosed US-based, healthcare-focused fund.
To date, the Lexington, Massachusetts-based firm has raised over $140 million in support of its efforts to develop drugs that induce synthetic lethality in cancer cells. The most advanced agent in its pipeline is CYT-0851, an inhibitor RAD51-mediated DNA repair, which is currently under evaluation in a Phase I/II monotherapy trial involving 200 patients with solid and hematologic cancers.
Cyteir will use the recently raised funds to explore the activity of single-agent CYT-0851 in Phase II studies later this year. "We are intrigued by the potential of RAD51 inhibition, particularly due to early findings suggesting it could be helpful in treating lymphomas and other hematologic malignancies," Derek DiRocco, a partner at RA Capital Management, said in a statement.
The firm will also study CYT-0851 in combination with other cancer therapies that induce DNA damage starting in mid-2021 and conduct preclinical research to develop new cancer drugs. For example, Cyteir said it will use a portion of the Series C funding to start investigational new drug application-enabling studies for its second-generation RAD51 inhibitor CYT-1853 and another undisclosed compound for the treatment of solid tumors.
The company said it is also developing a companion diagnostic to identify patients with tumors overexpressing cytidine deaminases, which may make their cancers more responsive to CYT-0851. The US Food and Drug Administration has granted an investigational device exemption for the CDx, allowing Cyteir to start studying the test in patients.