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Biopharmaceuticals Oncology Venture Capital

 News Release - May 6, 2008

Apoptos Inc. Raises $28 Million in Series A Financing

SAN DIEGO--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Apoptos Inc., an oncology research and development company, today announced that it has secured $28 million in funding. Major investors in the milestone-driven, two-tranche Series A financing include Venrock, ARCH Venture Partners, OrbiMed Advisors, and Advanced Technology Ventures. The financing will fund the company through 2010. It will be used to advance Apoptos’ portfolio of small molecule drugs that are directed at inducing tumor cell apoptosis, also known as programmed cell death.

“Apoptos is delighted to have attracted such an outstanding group of investors, who share our vision and strategy to build the premier apoptosis directed oncology drug discovery and development organization," said William H. Rastetter, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Apoptos. "Evasion of apoptosis allows cancer cells to survive and become malignant tumors. Directly activating programmed cell death within tumors promises to yield novel drugs that potently and selectively kill cancer cells and bypass classical drug resistance mechanisms.”

Dr. Rastetter, previously Executive Chairman of Biogen Idec, also serves as a Partner at Venrock. He is very experienced at building biopharmaceutical companies having joined Idec Pharmaceuticals at its founding as President and CEO and growing it to a multi-billion-dollar company.

“We are thrilled to have Bill's leadership and believe Apoptos is uniquely positioned to develop the next generation of cancer therapeutics," commented Bryan Roberts, Managing General Partner at Venrock.

Apoptos was founded in 2007 by Dr. Rastetter and a group of experienced biotechnology industry executives, including:
  • Robert J. Peach, Ph.D., Vice President of Biology (formerly Senior Director of Discovery Oncology at Biogen Idec),
  • Marcus F. Boehm, Ph.D., Vice President of Chemistry (formerly Vice President of Chemistry at ConFORMA Therapeutics), and
  • Christine A. White, M.D. (formerly Senior Vice President, Global Medical Affairs, Biogen Idec).
The company’s scientific founders are John C. Reed, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO, Burnham Institute for Medical Research, and David Hockenbery, M.D., Member, Clinical Research and Human Biology Divisions, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Additional supporting technology comes from Dr. Richard A. Houghten, President, Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies.

Drs. Rastetter and White are joined on the Board of Directors by Robert T. Nelson, Managing Director, Arch Venture Partners and Mikael Dolsten, M.D., Ph.D., Partner, OrbiMed Advisors.

About Apoptos Inc.

Apoptos Inc., a San Diego-based biopharmaceutical company, is focused on developing novel small molecule drug therapies that directly induce tumor cell apoptosis. Using founding technology licensed from Burnham Institute for Medical Research, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, Apoptos is pioneering its anticancer platforms in close collaborations with preeminent scientists in the fields of apoptosis and experimental cancer therapy. Evasion of apoptosis pathways is central to cancer cell survival and reactivation of these cell-death pathways offers attractive anticancer drug development opportunities. In addition to cancer, Apoptos’ technology also promises to have applications in other areas of medicine, including autoimmune diseases and inflammation. Further information regarding Apoptos is available at

About Venrock

Venrock is a premier venture capital firm with offices in Menlo Park, New York, Cambridge, MA, and Israel. Originally established as the venture capital arm of the Rockefeller family, Venrock continues a seven-decade tradition of partnering with entrepreneurs to establish successful, enduring companies. Having invested $1.9 billion in 405 companies resulting in more than 120 IPOs over the past 39 years, Venrock’s investment returns place it among the top tier venture capital firms that have achieved consistently superior performance. For more information, please visit Venrock’s website at

About ARCH Venture Partners

ARCH invests primarily in companies co-founded with leading scientists and entrepreneurs, concentrating on bringing to market innovations in life sciences, physical sciences, and information technology. ARCH currently manages seven funds totaling nearly $1.5 billion and has invested in the earliest venture capital rounds for more than 120 companies. ARCH investors include major corporations, pension funds, endowment funds, financial institutions, and private investors. For more information, please visit ARCH’s website at

About OrbiMed Advisors

OrbiMed is the world's largest healthcare-dedicated investment firm, with more than $5 billion in assets under management. OrbiMed's investment advisory business was founded in 1989 with a vision to invest across the spectrum of healthcare companies: from private start-ups to large multinational companies. OrbiMed manages the Caduceus Private Investments series of venture capital funds and a family of public equity investment funds. For more information, please visit OrbiMed’s website at

About Advanced Technology Ventures

Founded in 1979, Advanced Technology Ventures (ATV) is a bi-coastal venture capital firm with more than $1.4 billion in capital under management. ATV works closely with entrepreneurial teams in several technology markets, including communications, infrastructure, software and services, consumer technology, biopharmaceuticals, medical devices and emerging technologies, to build emerging-growth business ventures into market leaders. For more information, please visit ATV’s website at

About Burnham Institute for Medical Research

Burnham Institute for Medical Research uses a unique, collaborative approach to medical research to reveal the fundamental molecular causes of disease and devise the innovative therapies of tomorrow. Burnham, a nonprofit, public benefit corporation, has become one of the fastest growing research institutes in the country and ranks among the top organizations worldwide for its research impact and for NIH grant funding. The Institute is organized into five disease-focused research centers: a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center; the Del E. Webb Center for Neurosciences, Aging and Stem Cell Research; the Infectious and Inflammatory Disease Center; the Diabetes & Obesity Research Center; and the Sanford Children’s Health Research Center. For more information, please visit

About Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center was founded in 1975 and is one of the world’s leading non-profit cancer-research institutes. With more than 200 research groups in four scientific divisions, FHCRC comprises an interdisciplinary team of world-renowned scientists and humanitarians working together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. FHCRC’s researchers, including three Nobel laureates, bring a relentless pursuit and passion for health, knowledge and hope to their work and the World. For more information, please visit

About Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies

Now in its 20th year, Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies is a 501(c)(3) research center dedicated to conducting basic research to advance the understanding of human disease and the improvement of human health. Scientists conduct research in fields associated with a wide variety of major medical conditions, including multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, Types I and II diabetes, infectious diseases, Alzheimer's, pain, inflammation, AIDS and other infectious diseases, transplant rejection and rheumatoid arthritis. The Institute is recognized worldwide as a leader in combinatorial chemistry and related drug discovery technologies. For more information, please visit

Source: Apoptos Inc

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