San Diego oncology startup Lengo Therapeutics being acquired for $250 million

Blueprint Medicines is buying Lengo Therapeutics.
(Courtesy of Blueprint Medicines)

Blueprint Medicines could pay an additional $215 million if Lengo’s experimental treatment hits regulatory and sales targets.


San Diego oncology startup Lengo Therapeutics is being acquired by publicly traded Blueprint Medicines for $250 million in cash — and possibly more if it hits certain milestones — to push forward an experimental precision treatment for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer.

The deal announced Monday, Nov. 29, aims to fill a niche in Blueprint’s portfolio of lung cancer therapies. The Cambridge, Mass. based company has one approved drug, Gavreto, and two others in clinical trials.

Lengo, which is located in Carmel Valley, is working on a novel medicine — called LNG-451 — that targets mutations that drive the spread of certain types of cancer to other parts of the body. Lengo’s molecule aims to enable treatment or prevention of brain metastases, which are a particular risk for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer.

The acquisition “complements our existing portfolio and strengthens our position in lung cancer,” said Blueprint Chief Executive Jeffrey Albers in a conference call with investors. “With the addition of LNG-451 to our pipeline, we will have three investigational therapies, each of which has best-in-class potential.”

Lengo is on track to submit an Investigational New Drug Application for LNG-451 to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by the end of this year, a precursor to clinical trials.

The company could receive up to $215 million in additional payments based on regulatory approvals and sales targets. It also has other precision oncology programs for non-small-cell lung cancer in early development.

Lengo was founded in 2019 by venture capital firm Frazier Healthcare Partners. The company declined to disclose how much it raised. But it’s at least $17.7 million, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company employs 11 full-time workers. It has ties to VelosBio, a local oncology biotech that was acquired last year by Merck for $2.75 billion.

Lengo’s Chief Executive, Enoch Kariuki, is the former chief financial officer of Velos. Former Velos CEO Dave Johnson is chairman of Lengo’s board of directors. One of its financial backers is Velosity Capital.

“From our inception, the Lengo Therapeutics team has focused on generating best-in-class compound profiles, prioritizing those with brain penetration along with high potency and selectivity, like LNG-451,” said Kariuki in a statement. “I am incredibly proud of the team for getting us to this point and excited to see the programs continue under Blueprint Medicines’ leadership.”

Founded in 2011, Blueprint Medicine went public in 2015. Lengo is its first acquisition. Blueprint’s shares ended trading Monday down 2.5 percent at $98.28 on the Nasdaq exchange.