Symphogen Raises $186 Million to Advance Cancer-Drug Pipeline

Symphogen A/S, a closely held Danish biotechnology company, raised 141 million euros ($186 million) from existing investors to develop its experimental cancer treatments.

Novo A/S and PKA led the investment, which raised more than the 100 million euros originally targeted, the Copenhagen-based company said today in an e-mailed statement, adding they each invested 20 million euros. Danica Pension also participated, Symphogen said.

Merck KGaA agreed in September to pay as much as 495 million euros for global rights to Symphogen’s most advanced cancer drug, Sym004. The drug is based on antibodies that are naturally produced by the immune system and is being tested in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer as well as those with head and neck cancer.

Symphogen said Anthony Tolcher, president of South Texas Accelerated Research Therapeutics, or Start, will join its board. Start directs clinical trials of novel cancer therapies and conducts the world’s largest early-stage medical oncology program, according to its website.

“We will continue to partner when appropriate as well as identify assets in our pipeline that we can advance to the market ourselves,” Symphogen Chief Executive Officer Kirsten Drejer said in the statement.

Symphogen has raised 249 million euros so far from investors including Essex Woodlands Health Ventures.