Blaze Bioscience, a Seattle-based biotechnology company focused on cancer, has completed a Series A financing totaling $8.5 million, bringing the total funds raised since inception to $9.8 million.
The round was raised from individual investors, including physicians and prominent biotech executives. A majority of the investors involved in Blaze's seed funding round increased their level of participation. The funding will support the advancement of Blaze's Tumor Paint product candidate, BLZ-100, into clinical development for use in surgery in multiple solid tumor types. The resources have also supported the expansion of Blaze's leadership team and establishment of corporate headquarters, including laboratory space, in the South Lake Union area of Seattle.
"We have a dedicated group of investors who share our vision of bringing light into tumor cells so that surgeons can see them in real time," said Dr. Jim Olson, co-founder and board member, Blaze Bioscience.
Blaze Bioscience's Tumor Paint technology is designed to provide real-time, high-resolution visualization of a broad array of solid tumors by binding to and illuminating cancer cells to aid in surgical removal. BLZ-100, the lead product candidate incorporating Tumor Paint technology, combines a targeting peptide and a fluorescent beacon. BLZ-100 is entering toxicology studies, and a phase I clinical trial exploring safety and effective imaging dose is planned in cancer patients with multiple tumor types.
In addition, Blaze Bioscience made new appointments to the leadership team, including Dennis Miller, Ph.D., as senior vice president of development, and Claudia Jochheim, Ph.D., as senior director of process development and manufacturing.
"With this additional funding and the added expertise of Dr. Miller and Dr. Jochheim, we plan to move our first Tumor Paint product candidate, BLZ-100, into the clinic," said Heather Franklin, co-founder, president and CEO of Blaze Bioscience. "Both Dennis and Claudia have extensive experience with moving products into clinical trials and beyond."
Miller brings 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology research and development space. Most recently, he served as senior vice president of research and preclinical development at ZymoGenetics. Prior to ZymoGenetics, he held R&D positions at Seattle Genetics, Amgen, Nycomed and Sterling Winthrop.
Jochheim is a biochemist with more than 20 years of experience in the biotechnology industry. Prior to joining Blaze Bioscience, she was an independent consultant. Previously, she held leadership positions at Seattle Genetics, Corixa, Immunex and Amgen.