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Biotechs backed to beat cancer

Biotechs are attracting multi-million dollar investments to pioneer new cancer treatments.

Puma Biotechnology this week announced it had secured a loan facility of up to $100 million – from the Silicon Valley Bank and Oxford Finance – to support the commercialisation of its NERLYNX® therapy, for early-stage breast cancer. It is given to improve the chances a cancer won’t return – after a patient has received an initial treatment.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved NERLYNX® in July. Dr Richard Pazdur, Director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence, saying it had demonstrated it “may help keep the cancer from coming back”.

“We’re proud to support Puma as they work to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence and develop novel therapies for the treatment of cancer. It’s our pleasure to arrange this financing for Puma as they commercialize NERLYNX and endeavor to bring this impactful therapy to patients throughout the world,” said Anthony Flores, director for Silicon Valley Bank’s Southwest Life Science Practice.

There have been a number of key advances in the fight against cancer this year. In August, the FDA approved a breakthrough gene therapy, labelled an historic moment in cancer treatment, and last month it backed another that could spell the “end for blood cancer”. Recent research by a team from the University of Pennsylvania also points to potential new treatments for one the most deadly forms of cancer.

And investors are supporting biotechs continue the trend. One Californian biotech attracted $40 million of investment earlier this year to spearhead a ‘capital-efficient approach to developing novel cancer treatments’. While a Scottish biotech company was awarded €4 million in funding this year to develop the ‘next-generation’ cancer treatment.

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