Epizyme Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based biopharma company focused on the application of epigenetics, has raised $32 million in Series B funding. Bay City Capital led the round, and was joined by Amgen Ventures, Astellas Venture Partners and return backers MPM Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers. The company previously raised $14 million.
Epizyme, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company translating key discoveries in the field of epigenetics into novel pharmaceutical agents, announced today the closing of a $32 million Series B financing led by new investor Bay City Capital (BCC). Joining BCC as new investors are Amgen Ventures and Astellas Venture Management. Existing investors MPM Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (KPCB), which co-led the Series A round of $14 million in February 2008, made follow-on investments. Coincident with the close of the Series B, Carl Goldfischer, MD, a BCC investment partner and managing director, joins the company’s Board of Directors.
“Rapid progress has been made at Epizyme in evolving a robust pipeline of first-in-class inhibitors of histone methyltransferase (HMT) enzymes involved in cancer,” said Epizyme chief executive officer Kazumi Shiosaki, PhD. “With the support of our new investors as well as our existing investors, we are now in a position to progress a number of these lead programs into proof-of-concept studies.”
Epigenetic enzymes have been identified for their critical roles in various cancers, and emerging data suggest the existence of epigenetic disease associations beyond oncology. Epizyme believes that the HMTs, in particular, represent novel therapeutic targets in major indications including cancer, inflammatory conditions, metabolic disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. In addition to identifying novel small molecule HMT inhibitors for various cancers, Epizyme is developing an integrated platform that enables broad and efficient prosecution of the “HMTome” for its potential value across the therapeutic spectrum.
“We believe Epizyme’s innovative approach to drugging HMTs and the experience of an exceptional group of founders and scientists can be leveraged to identify and develop novel therapies for multiple disorders characterized by significant unmet medical need,” said Dr. Goldfischer.
Dr. Goldfischer joined BCC in December 2000 and serves on the Board of Directors of numerous companies including BrainCells, EnteroMedics, MAP Pharmaceuticals, Metabolex, Poniard Pharmaceuticals, and PTC Therapeutics.
Epizyme, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, was founded in 2007 to create innovative drugs for major diseases based on new discoveries emerging from the field of epigenetics. Epizyme is initially focusing on histone methyltransferases (HMTs), a large class of epigenetic enzymes that are recognized for the critical roles they play in serious diseases such as cancer. Epizyme is developing an enabling and integrated drug discovery platform that has evolved a robust and sustainable pipeline of first-in-class inhibitors of HMTs. Epizyme is located in Cambridge, MA. For additional information, please visit www.epizyme.com.