San Francisco, CA, Jan. 2, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Privately held StemPar Sciences, Inc. today announced an initial investment from Troika Venture Capital, a multi-profile international venture capital firm. In addition, Troika has committed to participate in future StemPar financings.
StemPar is an industry leader in cancer metabolism, rapidly advancing a DNQ-derived small molecule aimed at an equally novel drug target--a protein called NQO1--for pancreatic, breast and lung cancers.
Cancer treatments in development have been moving increasingly toward targeted therapies with much improved patient selection using specific biomarkers. Targeted therapies like StemPar's drug candidates represent the potential to overcome many of the limitations of currently available cancer drugs. StemPar's lead drug is targeting NQO1, which is found at high levels in pancreatic, breast and lung cancers. StemPar is also developing companion diagnostic tests to detect the NQO1 target protein with the aim of significantly improving the ability to determine which patients are most likely to respond to this therapy because of their specific genetic makeup.
The Company's leadership team has a solid track record of developing innovative, commercially valuable cancer drugs. StemPar co-founder, President & CEO Barry Sherman, MD is a biotech visionary who has long been at the forefront of innovative cancer drug development, most recently at BiPar Sciences, which was ultimately acquired by Sanofi-Aventis. As Genentech's first Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sherman played a significant role in the development of a number of breakthrough drugs that have generated billions of dollars of revenues and touched the lives of millions of patients. StemPar cofounder and Chairman Hoyoung Huh, MD, PhD was CEO at BiPar. Dr. Huh has engineered some of the most successful turnarounds and trade sale exits in biotech and pharma. He now serves on a number of boards at leading public and private global biotech firms.
"We are extremely pleased to be working with the very committed and talented team at Troika," said StemPar CEO Barry Sherman. "They recognize commercially valuable science, IP and paradigm-shifting market potential when they see them. At the same time, they understand that one of the best ways to mitigate the risk that so often comes with early stage opportunities with breakthrough potential is to build their investment around an experienced management team like ours, which has deep roots in breakthrough cancer care innovation."
"We think that StemPar has great potential to advance cancer care," said Artyom Yukhin, managing director at Troika. "Because of the dislocation that the US venture capital industry is currently going through, we see an interesting opportunity to match global pools of investment capital with exciting technologies like StemPar."
StemPar's Scientific Advisory Team includes recognized authorities on cancer metabolism, DNA repair, the NQO1-mediated cell death pathway, and the DNQ small molecule. David Boothman, Ph.D. is Professor & Associate Director of Translational Research at the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center. Prof. Boothman is a recognized authority on cancer metabolism and DNA repair. His work over two decades, which began at Harvard University Medical Center and the Dana-Farber Cancer Inst., has elucidated the NQO1 pathway as a novel target for cancer therapeutics. Paul Hergenrother, Ph.D. is Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a leader in the field of chemical biology.
StemPar to Present at Biotech Showcase™ 2013
The Company also announced today that it will present the corporate overview at the upcoming Biotech Showcase™ 2013 on Tuesday, 1/8/2013 at 9:00 AM (PST) in the Mission I Room (Track B). Biotech Showcase will take place at Parc 55 Wyndham San Francisco - Union Square, 55 Cyril Magnin Street, 4th Floor, on Jan 7th - 9th.
About StemPar Sciences
StemPar is developing a pipeline of powerful, first-in-class cancer drugs that attack solid tumors by simultaneously disrupting their source of energy and defensive ability to hijack the body's DNA-repair mechanism to regenerate when under assault. The scientific premise of this so-called cancer metabolism strategy has been studied for generations--and earned the scientist who discovered it a Nobel Prize--but it is only recently that scientists figured out how to crack the code of cancer metabolism sufficiently to build a commercially viable drug development effort around it. Our scientists are at the forefront of this effort and our leadership team has long been at the forefront of transforming breakthrough scientific discoveries into life-saving medicines. StemPar cofounder and CEO Barry Sherman, MD played a pivotal role in the development of some of the most important cancer medicines in our generation (Herceptin, Rituxan) and in the process helped build the most successful biotech in history (Genentech). For more information visit www.stempar.com.
About Troika Venture Capital
Troika Venture Capital is an international venture capital firm with over $200 million under management. Troika invests across multiple stages, from seed to Series B, in the information technology, semiconductors and life science sectors. Troika is known for being a value-added partner with management in building fundamentally strong companies. Representative portfolio companies include Evernote Corporation, Terasense, Inc., Luxera, Inc. and Biomimedica, Inc. The firm is headquartered in Moscow, Russia.