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Vivace Therapeutics Raises $30M to Develop Cancer Drug Targeting Hippo-YAP Pathway

NEW YORK – Vivace Therapeutics on Wednesday said it has raised $30 million in a Series C financing round, which it plans to put toward advancing an investigational cancer agent targeting the Hippo-YAP pathway.

The financing round was led by Boxer Capital, with participation from RA Capital Management and Canaan partners. Norman Zhou of Boxer Capital will join Vivace's board of directors.

The raised funds will allow San Mateo, California-based Vivace to evaluate a targeted agent in clinical studies in early 2021. While it did not disclose the specific indications to be explored in these trials, Vivace is focused on studying tumors dependent on activated YAP. The Hippo-YAP pathway regulates cell growth and survival, and mutations in the pathway give rise to cancer.

This pathway has been traditionally difficult to drug, and Vivace said it is the first company to bring a molecule to the clinic that targets it. According to the company, its investigational compounds have demonstrated anti-tumor activity in preclinical studies, both as monotherapy and in combination with other agents.

In August, the Ivy Brain Tumor Center announced a collaboration with Vivace, through which it would evaluate the company's compound VT-01 as a treatment for glioblastoma and meningioma. 

Vivace, which came out of stealth mode in 2017, previously raised $40 million in Series A and B funding rounds. The Series A was co-led by Canaan Partners and WuXi Healthcare Ventures and the Series B was led by Cenova Capital, and included other investors.