Cumbre Inc. raised $26 million in a second round of financing to support its programs in antibiotic and antifungal drug discovery.
The Dallas-based company got funding from Pharma Vision AG, of Switzerland, and Vulcan Inc., of Seattle. Cumbre was spun off from Tularik Inc., of South San Francisco, in February to develop chemistry, biology and drug screening technology.
"The money will take us two to three years [forward], depending on how well we execute," said President and CEO Bob England, who joined the company in August after retiring from Texas Instruments and a 27-year career in engineering and business management. "We'll spend a significant portion on salaries for scientists and the technicians and research assistants required for drug discovery."
The company's scientific platform combines proteomics-based drug discovery with target-directed screens and an advanced lead compound series.
England said Cumbre was interested in working with investors that understand the drug discovery process can be a long one. Pharma Vision is an investment company focused on the health care industry. Vulcan was founded in 1986 by Paul Allen, a member of the board of directors of Microsoft Corp., to manage his personal and professional endeavors, including various investments and more than 100 portfolio companies. There also are other smaller investors in Cumbre, including members of the board of directors and employees, England said.
Tularik continues to be a significant shareholder in the privately held spin-off, though the stake was not disclosed. Cumbre, which means "summit" in Spanish, originally was named Tularik Texas. Cumbre still has access to Tularik's screening libraries of about 350,000 compounds, as well as its bioinformatics database.
Also, Cumbre will continue to collaborate with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
"The collaboration with the university is a high-throughput drug screening technology that was worked on and developed at the university," England said. "We have licensed the know-how associated with that and will continue to develop it in the company."
Cumbre now is in temporary quarters but is renovating space near the medical center. England said it would like to begin moving into the space in early November and complete installations of biology and chemistry labs through November for a full move-in by the end of the month.
"We hope we will establish a state-of-the-art facility for drug discovery in Dallas," said England, noting that the city has a plan to build the biotech industry and has done a number of things to support the industry.