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J&J, Novartis, Astellas invest in Twentyeight-Seven Therapeutics

Twentyeight-Seven Therapeutics said it raised $65 million in a round of financing that saw the participation of Novartis AG, Johnson & Johnson and Astellas Pharma Inc.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based biotechnology company, which is developing treatments for cancer, said the series A financing was co-led by MPM Capital LLC and Novartis Venture Funds and saw the participation of Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JJDC Inc., Vertex Ventures HC, Astellas Venture Management LLC, and Longwood Fund.

The funds will be used to advance the company's lead program, Let-7, for treating cancer. The program targets certain proteins in the body to increase tumor suppression.

In separate news, the company said it appointed Shomir Ghosh as its chief scientific officer. Ghosh, who has 25 years of scientific research, drug discovery and development experience, was most recently the chief scientific officer and a founding scientist of IFM Therapeutics Inc.

Twentyeight-Seven also said its president and CEO, Kazumi Shiosaki, will join the company's board in addition to certain investors: Luke Evnin, managing director and co-founder of MPM; Briggs Morrison, executive partner at MPM and CEO of Syndax Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Carolyn Ng, principal at Vertex Ventures; and Michal Silverberg, Novartis Venture Fund's managing director.