Back in April, Shawn Carbonell was deep in negotiations for a Series A round. As with any investment negotiation, there was a litany of details to sort through, which meant the CEO of OncoSynergy had to make some tough decisions. Lots of ins, lots of outs.
All the while, he made it clear there was something he wouldn’t budge on: the vesting discount on the convertible note from OncoSynergy’s 2015 Wefunder raise. It wasn’t an enormous discount, 15%, but for Carbonell, it was important to stay loyal to his 35 Wefunder investors.
“In the grand scheme, the discount was affecting less than a percentage of 1% of what we raised, but I fought for it because our Wefunder investors came through quickly,” Carbonell said. “That was our first raise from the crowd, and we wanted to sweeten the deal for the people who first believed in us.”
In the end, OncoSynergy closed a $3M Series A round in May that, according to the company, brought its post-raise valuation to just over $50M. Led by Connecticut Innovation, this round — raised on top of $15M in prior funding — will be used to accelerate their lead program, OS2966. The drug is being developed for the treatment of glioblastoma, the deadliest primary brain tumor in adults.
The new funding is another milestone in what’s becoming a rapidly-developing program. By focusing on streamlining operations in the testing phase, OncoSynergy wasn’t required by the FDA to participate in extra studies, a step that is often extremely costly to start-up drug developers. This saved the company around $750k.
As a result, OncoSynergy was able to submit a well-received briefing book to the FDA in August, which should mean no delays for its Investigational New Drug application (IND). If that process goes as anticipated, OS2966 should be in clinical trials by late 2019.
The FDA success came with two more bits of good news. The first is that Carbonell says all original investor perks have been secured and will be shipped in time for the winter holidays. The second is that OncoSynergy’s board was so thrilled with testing results that they immediately decided to promote their VP of Clinical Development to Chief Medical Officer. That person? Anne-Marie Carbonell, Shawn’s wife.
As the couple likes to say, curing cancer is a family business.
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