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Deciphera raises $75 million for cancer drug trials

A Waltham drug company developing cancer treatments has raised $75 million from investors.

Deciphera Pharmaceuticals said Monday it had raised the money to advance two of its drugs through clinical proof-of-concept testing and advance two other drugs in its pipeline toward commercialization. The company said its drug pipeline is built around “kinase inhibitors” that block cancer cells’ signaling mechanisms and makes it harder for them to mutate to resist treatment.

Deciphera said four of its drugs are in phase 1 trials, which aim to verify the drug is safe. Its leading candidate, altiratinib, is being administered in higher doses than in early stages of the trial, the company said. Deciphera expects another drug candidate, DCC-2618, to reach that point later this year. The company has partnered with the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly to advance another of its drugs, called rebastinib, toward commercialization.


New Leaf Venture Partners, a New York health investor, was the biggest contributor to the round, the company’s series B, Deciphera said, declining to disclose the amount Angel investors and “a high net worth individual located in the Midwest” also contributed to the total, the company said.

The company raised $85 million in its first funding round and has made more than $30 million through partnerships with drug companies and licensing revenue, according to a spokeswoman. Deciphera employs about 20 between its Waltham headquarters and its research site in Kansas, the spokeswoman said.

Jack Newsham can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TheNewsHam.