Epizyme, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company translating key discoveries in the field of epigenetics into novel pharmaceutical agents, announced today the participation of New Enterprise Associates (NEA) in its Series B, bringing the total financing to $40M.
Epizyme initially announced a $32M round led by Bay City Capital (BCC) in September of this year. NEA joins an investor group that includes BCC, Amgen Ventures, Astellas Venture, MPM Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (KPCB). Coincident with the second close of the Series B financing, David M. Mott, NEA General Partner, joins the Company’s Board of Directors.
“Expanding our syndicate to include NEA adds another investor with significant drug-development and company building expertise as well as substantial capital resources,” said Epizyme CEO Kazumi Shiosaki, PhD. “By raising more capital now, we can continue to aggressively advance our pipeline of histone methyltransferase inhibitors for various oncology indications. I look forward to working with our investors to continue to build a leading company in the promising new area of epigenetics.”
Epigenetic enzymes have been identified for their roles in various diseases including cancer, inflammatory conditions, metabolic disorders and neurological and psychiatric diseases. Epizyme is focusing on a specific class of epigenetic enzymes, the histone methyltransferases (HMTs), which represent a novel protein target class that has been associated with a variety of major diseases. In addition to a robust pipeline of novel small-molecule inhibitors against selected HMTs, Epizyme is developing an integrated platform that allows rapid and efficient identification of potent and selective inhibitors against multiple HMTs and will evaluate these compounds for their potential value across the therapeutic spectrum.
“Epizyme’s founders, management team, collaborators and investors have done an outstanding job of creating a leading company in the rapidly emerging field of epigenetic drug development and research,” said Mr. Mott. “Epizyme’s lead programs, as well as its research and development capabilities in the area of histone methyltransferases, promise to create substantial value for both patients and investors. NEA looks forward to working with the Epizyme team and our co-investors to continue building a great company.”
Mr. Mott focuses on biopharmaceutical investments at NEA. He is Chairman of 3-V Biosciences and Zyngenia, a Director of Ardelyx and Zosano Pharma, and serves on the advisory board of the Scripps Translational Science Institute. Prior to joining NEA, he was President and CEO of MedImmune, which was acquired by AstraZeneca for $15.6 billion in 2007. During his 16 years at MedImmune, the company grew from a small biotechnology company into one of the five largest biotechnology companies in the world.