Novel cancer approach


Calithera Biosciences is a clinical-stage company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of first-in-class small molecule oncology therapeutics.  The company is building a pipeline of targeted anti-cancer compounds that inhibit pathways critical to tumor growth and survival.  At the start of our engagement, Calithera’s lead product, CB-839, was still in pre-clinical development and they wished to explore options to enable clinical development, including a potential partnering transaction (licensing, option and/or M&A).  Calithera has subsequently completed IND-enabling studies, raised $35M in equity financing and entered the clinic with CB-839.


DNA Ink was retained by Calithera to act as the internal business development team and run the partnering process for CB-839.  We were enthusiastic to work with Susan Molineaux, President and CEO of Calithera, and her management team because of their exceptional scientific rigor, professionalism and past accomplishments.

Our work

DNA Ink provided overall deal leadership, valuation, deal structure and term sheet negotiations for CB-839.  We led the day-to-day deal process and interactions with both the client and third parties. Specifically, we:

  • Set overall deal goals for Calithera and their lead asset, CB-839
  • Leveraged contacts in the industry to engage multiple parties around the world in partnering activities
  • Jointly developed communications, including corporate presentations, product positioning and messaging with client
  • Created detailed patient-based forecasts based on pre-clinical data package and emerging development plans
  • Developed a deal valuation model (rNPV) to evaluate deal terms, share of value, compare deal structure and support negotiations
  • Advised client on due diligence process, scope and communications
  • Collaborated with client’s IP and Corporate Counsel to ensure alignment on scope and structure of transaction
  • Developed deal structure and negotiated terms with third parties
  • Presented deal options with comprehensive analysis to BOD to enable an informed decision on potential transactions


On October 29th, 2013, Calithera closed a $35M Series D venture financing lead by Adage Capital Partners.  <Press Release>

With this financing, Calithera now had the capital and expertise to continue develop through Phase I/Ib POC studies and suspended licensing negotiations.

Through this engagement, DNA Ink provided Calithera funding options in the form of a negotiated transaction and a firm understanding of the underlining value and risks of CB-839.  This assisted Calithera in their Series D and provided a solid foundation moving forward.