Follow the Money: Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.


Follow the Money highlights a newly funded bio/pharmaceutical company. This includes important insights into the featured company’s product pipeline, manufacturing and business relationships, and likely sourcing opportunities.

Sunesis Pharmaceuticals is a U.S. public biopharmaceutical company that develops small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of solid and hematologic cancers. As reported in the December 17, 2015 issue of the PharmSource Lead Sheet, they recently raised $25 million in the completion of mixed financing.

Corporate Highlights

  • Sunesis was incorporated in Delaware in February 1998.
  • Corporate Headquarters: South San Francisco, CA – approximately 21,483 square feet of office space.
  • As of March 12, 2015, they had 39 employees.

Sourcing Opportunities

  • Sunesis Pharmaceuticals plans to use the proceeds for corporate purposes, including regulatory efforts, other R&D, administrative needs, manufacturing expenses, and clinical trials, including:
    • SNS-062 – complete a Phase I study:
      • For the treatment of B-cell malignancies
      • Dosage Form: Oral
      • Nature of API: Chemical – Normal potency
      • Therapeutic Area: Oncology – Other
  • The company contracts with contract research organizations (CROs) to conduct clinical trials.
  • Sunesis Pharmaceuticals does not own or operate manufacturing facilities and has no plans to develop them. The company relies on third party contract manufacturers for all required raw materials, API, and finished product for preclinical studies and clinical trials.
  • Sunesis Pharmaceuticals has no sales, marketing or distribution experience.

Business Relationships

  • In August 2004, Sunesis and Biogen Idec entered into a collaboration agreement to develop small molecule cancer therapeutics targeting kinases, a family of cell-signaling enzymes that play a role in cancer progression. The companies applied Sunesis’ proprietary fragment-based drug discovery technology to generate leads. Sunesis received an upfront $7 million technology access fee and $14 million equity investment, funding to support R&D, milestone payments, and royalties based on sales. Sunesis also retained an option to co-develop and co-promote some resulting products.
  • In January 2014, Sunesis and Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company entered into a license agreement for the development of Sunesis’ oral, selective pan-Raf kinase inhibitor and one additional undisclosed kinase inhibitor program in oncology. Sunesis received a $4 million upfront payment and was eligible to receive up to $60 million in pre-commercial milestones. In addition, Sunesis retained co-development and co-promotion rights.1


Product Candidate Indication Dosage Form Status Next Anticipated Step
SNS-062 B-cell Malignancies Oral Preclinical Complete Phase I trial in 2016
MLN2480 Solid Tumors/Melanoma Oral Phase I TBA
SNS-229/SNS-510 Hematology/
Solid Tumors
Oral Phase I TBA
Vosaroxin Myelodysplastic
Parenteral Phase I Complete Phase I/II trial in 2016
Vosaroxin Intermediate or High-Risk MDS Parenteral Phase II TBA
Vosaroxin Acute Myeloid
Parenteral EMA filing EMA Approval


(In $ thousands) 2014 2013
R&D Expenditures
General & Administrative Expenditures
Total Operating Expenses

1Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 3/12/15 10-K,

Contact Information

Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Key Officers
395 Oyster Point Boulevard, Suite 400 Daniel N. Swisher, CEO & President
South San Francisco, CA, 94080 USA Eric H. Bjerkholt, CFO & EVP, Corporate Development
Phone: +1-650-266-3500 Adam R. Craig, PhD, CMO & EVP, Development
Fax: +1-650-266-3501 Mary G. Bolton, MD, PhD, VP, Clinical Development
Web: Deborah A. Thomas, PhD, VP, Regulatory Affairs & Medical Writing

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Scotty is a Research Analyst at PharmSource. He holds a BS degree in Biology from George Mason University and an MPH degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School. He’s experienced in data collection, analysis and management, and has done laboratory analysis and safety program development.

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