Kura Oncology Inc. made a big splash in the even bigger oncology drug development pond this month. The company completed a reverse merger and closed a $60 million private placement with a syndicate of top venture funds almost at the same time it executed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) unit Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, of Beerse, Belgium, for an exclusive license to develop and commercialize tipifarnib in multiple oncology indications.
The oral inhibitor of RAS farnesylation has a long history of development, with clinical trials dating back 15 years, but so far has failed to yield a product launch. La Jolla, Calif.-based Kura hopes to change that in short order.
The reverse merger with a public shell was