Clovis Comes out Swingin’

June 24th, 2009 | Sources: BurrillReport


What recession?

Clovis Pharmaceuticals, a Boulder-based start-up bred to acquire, develop and commercialize oncology products, has just raised $145 million, the largest such financing this year.

ClovisbusinessstrategyClovis’ management team is the same one that grew Pharmion into a colossus that was snapped up by Celgene in 2008 for $2.9 billion.

Its financing comes from essentially the same VCs that backed Pharmion.
The timing of Clovis’ big raise is no accident. The Great Economic Crisis has left hundreds of Biotech companies in possession of promising molecules and not enough cash to develop them. Clovis, arguably, has its pick of the litter. 
“There’s a significant need for this type of company in almost any financial circumstance because the discovery abilities of our industry have really exceeded the development capacity of our industry,” Patrick Mahaffy, president and CEO of Clovis told BurrillReport.

“We (are) well capitalized…and many other companies are struggling…companies that may have wanted to be or had been an acquirer, or buyer, or partner of rights, have backed away,” he summarized.
Versant Ventures participated in the financing. For its managing director, Brian Atwood, the real appeal in the deal was Clovis’ management team, with which he worked as a Pharmion investor. “The guiding principle…for our firm is to find great management teams,” he confirmed.
Accompanying Versant in the round are Domain Associates, New Enterprise Associates, Aberdare Ventures, ProQuest Investments, Abingworth and Frazier Healthcare Ventures. All but the latter had invested in Pharmion.

Accompanying Mahaffy at Clovis will be CMO Andrew Allen, EVP of Regulatory Affairs and Technical Operations Gillian Ivers-Read, and CFO Erle Mast. All are reprising their roles at Pharmion, which Mahaffy founded 9 years ago. 


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