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Volastra Therapeutics Licenses KIF18A Inhibitor From Amgen, Raises $60M in Series A Financing

NEW YORK – Volastra Therapeutics said on Tuesday that it has licensed the KIF18A inhibitor sovilnesib from Amgen.

Sovilnesib is currently being evaluated in Phase I clinical trials as treatment for certain patients with ovarian cancer, triple-negative breast cancer, and other solid tumors harboring TP53 mutations. Volastra did not disclose the amount, but said it has paid Amgen an upfront mix of cash and equity in exchange for exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize the agent outside of China. Amgen will also be eligible for downstream milestone payments and royalties.

The new agent joins Volastra's existing pipeline candidate VLS-1488 as part of the New York-based firm's KIF18A-targeting program.

Volastra also announced on Tuesday that it has raised $60 million in a Series A financing round. Polaris Partners, ARCH Venture Partners, and Eli Lilly led the round, with participation from Droia Ventures, Catalio Capital Management, Vida Ventures, Cornell University, and Ocean Road Advisors affiliate Meyers Ventures.

The financing round comes on the heels of Volastra's recently announced collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb that's focused on developing cancer drugs using chromosomal instability-based synthetic lethality. Volastra is also partnering with Microsoft to develop high-throughput machine learning technologies for histopathological identification of chromosomal instability.