Healthcare Industry News:  Aesthetic Medicine 

Biopharmaceuticals Venture Capital

 News Release - May 19, 2008

Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Announces $40M Financing

Series C Round Led by JAFCO

LOS ANGELES--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Kythera”), a privately-held biotechnology company, announced a $40 million C round financing led by new investor JAFCO Co. Ltd. Other new investors include BBT Capital Management/Apothecary Capital and PFM. Also participating were existing investors Versant Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners, Prospect Venture Partners, Altitude Life Science Ventures and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati. This tranched financing has an immediate draw of $30M with an additional $10M available in the first-half of 2009. Concurrent with the financing, Hironori Hozoji, Investment Officer, JAFCO Life Science Investment, will be joining Kythera’s board of directors.

“We are delighted to have JAFCO as an investor and Mr. Hozoji on our Board. Not only does JAFCO have outstanding experience in the U.S. market, they are well-poised to assist us with strategic partnership options for our products in Japan and the broader, rapidly-growing Asia market,” said Keith Leonard, Kythera’s President and CEO. “We also are pleased to have BBT Capital Management/Apothecary Capital and PFM as new investors. Their expertise in the public markets will be extremely beneficial as we progress the company. Additionally, we were glad to see the robust demand from our existing investors.

“This financing is a clear recognition of the progress made on and potential of our lead product candidate, ATX-101, which is currently being evaluated in Phase II clinical trials in Europe, Canada, Australia and the U.S. for minimally-invasive reduction of localized fat,” said Leonard.

JAFCO is Japan’s largest venture capital firm with $5B under management. Mr. Hozoji joined JAFCO in 1985 and currently heads JAFCO’s life sciences investments in North America. He is one of the most experienced Japanese venture capitalists investing in U.S. life sciences companies. Hozoji has been involved in several companies that have completed successful initial public offerings in the U.S. and Japan, including Sangamo, Acorda, MediciNova and Affymax. He also served on the board of Agensys prior to its recent acquisition by Astellas.

“Kythera has taken a novel, biotechnology-based approach to Aesthetic Medicine, and we are very impressed with the innovative products and the deeply experienced management team,” said Hironori Hozoji, investment officer for JAFCO. “We welcomed the opportunity to lead this round of financing for such a promising company.”

Kythera will use the proceeds of this financing to complete Phase II trials for its lead product ATX-101. Kythera has U.S. INDs open to study ATX-101 in both aesthetic and medical indications and has three Phase II studies ongoing to evaluate the product’s safety and effectiveness for the reduction of unwanted submental fat and the reduction of subcutaneous lipomas. Initial studies have shown ATX-101 to be safe and well tolerated.

“We are enthusiastic to contribute our financial and strategic resources to Kythera as we believe that ATX-101 has the potential to become the gold standard fat reduction treatment on the market. Kythera is applying a rigorous development approach rarely seen in the aesthetic space,” said Hozoji.

Kythera also will use the funds to advance ATX-104, a novel dermal contouring agent, and ATX-202, a pigment modulation compound, into clinical trials. The company plans to commercialize its products in the U.S. and seek strategic partnerships in certain ex-U.S. markets for its later stage clinical products.


JAFCO Co. Ltd. is the parent company of JAFCO Life Science Investment, a Tokyo-based publicly traded venture capital firm with a global investment focus. Founded in 1973, JAFCO has managed over 40 investment funds globally through its offices in North America, Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and other parts of the world. The charter of JAFCO Life Sciences Investment is to invest in U.S.-based later stage biopharmaceutical and medical device companies and create significant value for portfolio companies by facilitating partnerships with Japanese companies. JAFCO has extensive networks with pharmaceutical and medical device companies in Japan and holds a JAFCO Biotechnology Conference in November of every year in Tokyo.

About Kythera Biopharmaceuticals

Kythera is a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on science and innovation in Aesthetic Medicine. These markets are expanding rapidly driven by an aging population, increasing discretionary income, and an evolution of patient preference toward aesthetic care. The company uses the tools of biotechnology to develop prescription therapeutics for these emerging markets. Kythera has active or exploratory programs in adipolysis, dermal contouring, pigmentation, photoaging and topical neuromodulation.

For more information about Kythera, please visit the company’s Web site at

Source: Kythera Biopharmaceuticals

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