Healthcare Industry News: metabolic disease
News Release - June 2, 2009
Versartis, Inc. Completes Series A Funding of $11 Million [EUR 7.9 M] in a Joint Venture Between Index Ventures and Amunix, Inc.REDWOOD CITY, CA--(Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network)--Jun 2, 2009 -- Versartis, Inc. announced today that it has closed a Series A financing with an initial commitment of $11 million [EUR 7.9 M] from Index Ventures (London, Geneva, Jersey). Index has the option to invest an additional $5 million [EUR 3.6 M], which would bring the total investment up to $16 million [EUR 11.5 M]. Versartis has been formed as a joint venture between Amunix, Inc. and Index Ventures to exploit the clinical potential of novel drugs using Amunix's recombinant PEGylation (rPEG) technology.
Mark de Boer, Ph.D., Index Ventures, will serve as Versartis Chairman of the Board, and Willem 'Pim' Stemmer, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Amunix, will represent Amunix on the Board. Additional Board members include Roman Fleck, Ph.D., Index Ventures, and Jeffrey L. Cleland, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Versartis.
Versartis' business model is to rapidly develop new therapeutic proteins using the proprietary Amunix rPEG half-life extension technology, with a focus on metabolic disease and endocrinology. The funds raised will be used to progress its novel compounds into human clinical trials.
"We have preclinical proof-of-concept for three product candidates in the Versartis pipeline: these include exenatide and IL-1ra for diabetes, and hGH for growth hormone deficiency," said Jeffrey L. Cleland, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Versartis. "Our results to date demonstrate the advantage of these compounds over products currently on the market or in development. We look forward to working with Amunix and Index Ventures to validate the rPEG technology as we progress our therapeutics into human clinical trials."
"Versartis represents a completely novel model in biotech financing, aimed at maximizing the value of an innovative platform technology that was originally pioneered by Amunix," commented Mark De Boer, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board.
Roman Fleck of Index Ventures said: "As the sole financial backer of Versartis, Index Ventures is exploring new collaborative routes to generate value from scientific advances capturing the shared vision between Index Ventures and Amunix. As investors we are looking forward to working with such an experienced team."
"Versartis, as a joint venture company, will own and develop the novel drug candidates in metabolic diseases and endocrinology that it has licensed from Amunix, while Amunix remains focused on creating new products in other therapeutic areas," explained Dr. Pim Stemmer. "This enables Versartis to maximize value through clinical development, with Amunix retaining the rights to its core technologies and additional novel drug candidates."
Versartis, Inc., a biotechnology company headquartered in Redwood City, California, is developing therapeutic proteins for the treatment of metabolic diseases and endocrine disorders. Versartis is pursuing the development of new therapeutic proteins utilizing the novel half-life extension technology, recombinant PEGylation (rPEG).
Further information on Versartis can be found at www.versartis.com
About Index Ventures
Index Ventures is a leading pan-European venture capital firm dedicated to working with entrepreneurs who have the drive and ability to build world-class technology and life science companies. The Index Ventures team, which began investing in 1992, has a deep technology and scientific focus and the ability to leverage a network of cross-Atlantic strategic relationships. Index proactively seeks out the top entrepreneurial teams in each investment area and leverages its core assets in helping the entrepreneurs build their companies into global leaders. Index Ventures investors include leading technology firms and institutional investors. Previous investments include Addex Pharmaceuticals, Genmab, SGX Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Ingenium, ParAllele Bioscience, Molecular Partners and PanGenetics.
Further information on Index Ventures can be found at www.indexventures.com
Amunix creates protein pharmaceuticals with new, valuable features and for applications with unmet needs. Our strength is in protein design and the discovery research process, including pre-clinical development. Clinical development is performed in collaboration with partners, typically large pharmaceutical companies. Amunix has created recombinant PEGylation technology (rPEG) for serum half-life extension, and is building a broad pipeline of products in multiple therapeutic areas.
Further information on Amunix can be found at www.amunix.com
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