Avidia(TM), a privately-held biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing a new class of human therapeutic proteins called avimers(TM), today announced that it has raised $43.8 million in a Series C financing round. The financing was led by new investor Skyline Ventures and included participation from additional new investor HealthCare Ventures and from existing investors Alloy Ventures, Amgen Ventures, MedImmune Ventures, Morgenthaler Ventures and TPG Ventures. David G. Lowe, Ph.D., partner at Skyline Ventures, and Harold R. Werner, managing director and co-founder of HealthCare Ventures, are joining Avidia's board of directors.
The Company expects to use the proceeds to continue to advance the development of its lead products, which include an inhibitor of interleukin 6 for the treatment of inflammation and autoimmune disease, scheduled to enter clinical trials this year, and an inhibitor of IgE, on track to enter clinical trials next year. Proceeds will also be used to further expand Avidia's product portfolio and to support the continued exploration of unique avimer applications. These include oral delivery, multi-target inhibitors, cytoplasmic and tissue targeting and blood-brain barrier transport, applications that have been highly challenging for other biotherapeutic platforms to overcome and address.
"I am very pleased with the timing, size and valuation of this financing, which underscores the belief of industry-leading investors in the long-term potential of Avidia, our lead programs and groundbreaking drug development approach," said Peter Van Vlasselaer, Ph.D., Avidia's chief executive officer. "With these resources, we can rapidly develop avimer drugs with multiple functions and potent activity that could offer new treatment paradigms for a broad array of complex diseases. We are now well positioned to engage in strategic partnering discussions that could further increase the value of our efforts."
"Avidia's unique discovery engine has the ability to generate products that may provide significant improvements over existing therapeutic modalities, such as antibodies and peptides," said Dr. Lowe of Skyline Ventures. "Based on its successful track record, the company's experienced team can quickly identify and develop viable drug candidates for major diseases and rapidly move them into the clinic."
"We are impressed with Avidia's technology and believe the Company is building a robust clinical portfolio of drug candidates that address several major disease areas," said Mr. Werner of HealthCare Ventures
Avimers are single protein chains composed of modular binding domains -- like beads on a string. Each bead is designed to bind to a particular target site. The string of beads can bind simultaneously to sites on a single protein target and/or multiple protein targets. Known as multi-point attachment or avidity, this unique binding mechanism mimics the way cells and molecules interact in the body and results in drugs with multiple functions and potent activity.
Because most diseases are not mediated by a single mechanism, the ability of avimers to impact multiple drug targets at the same time offers a new approach to the treatment of multifactorial diseases that have been challenging for traditional protein drugs.
Avimers have a unique structure that distinguishes them from antibodies, antibody fragments and other therapeutic proteins.
Avidia's avimer discovery engine produces drugs that exhibit favorable "class" behavior in terms of lead identification, tissue distribution, mode of administration and manufacturability. Class behavior allows for efficiency in drug development over time, as processes and infrastructure developed for one program are immediately applicable to all other programs.
About Skyline Ventures
Skyline Ventures, formed in 1997, is a nationally-known venture capital firm that specializes in investing in outstanding product-focused healthcare companies. Areas of expertise include small molecule and protein therapeutics; medical devices; diagnostics; and technologies that facilitate drug discovery and life science research.
About HealthCare Ventures
HealthCare Ventures is a leading venture capital firm specializing in life science industry investing. Over the past 21 years, HealthCare Ventures has raised $1.6 billion in eight funds and has created nearly 50 new life science companies. Notable HealthCare Ventures investments include public companies such as Critical Therapeutics, Dendreon Pharmaceuticals, Diversa Corp., Human Genome Sciences, LeukoSite, MedImmune, NitroMed, OraSure, Shire Pharmaceuticals and Vicuron Pharmaceuticals.
Avidia is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing a new class of human therapeutic proteins called avimers. Avidia is engineering these avimer drugs against multiple validated and novel targets to address a wide range of disease areas, including inflammation, oncology and neurology. For more information, visit www.avidia.com.