Clinical-stage biotechnology firm Therachon has raised $60m mezzanine financing to advance lead program in achondroplasia and expand rare disease pipeline.
The financing was led by Novo Holdings and joined by new investors Cowen Healthcare Investments, Pfizer Ventures and funds managed by Tekla Capital Management.
Existing investors Versant Ventures, OrbiMed, Bpifrance and Inserm Transfert Initiative also participated.
Therachon plans to use the proceeds to advance the company’s lead pipeline candidate TA-46, a novel protein therapeutic for achondroplasia, the most common form of disproportionate short stature in humans, as well as to support the expansion of its rare disease pipeline.
TA-46 is being developed as a weekly subcutaneous therapy for children and adolescents living with achondroplasia.
Therachon is currently conducting a Phase 1 randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial to evaluate the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of single and multiple increasing doses of TA-46 in healthy volunteers.
Therachon has also recently started a natural history study called the ‘Dreambird study,’ that will prospectively assess the burden of complications of achondroplasia in approximately 200 children across multiple sites in Europe, Canada and the United States and will enable the start of treatment studies in children with achondroplasia in 2019.
Therachon CEO Luca Santarelli said: “We are very pleased to receive strong support from such a distinguished and international syndicate of investors who are committed to our vision and support our growth as a clinical-stage company.
“With this financing, we will be able to devote more resources to our lead clinical program in achondroplasia. Additionally, we look forward to exploring additional pipeline opportunities in the rare disease space.”
New Board Appointments
In conjunction with this financing, Jørgen Søberg Petersen M.D., Ph.D., DMSc, MBA, venture partner at Novo Holdings, and Timothy Anderson, director, Cowen Healthcare Investments, have been appointed members of Therachon’s Board of Directors.
Therachon board chairman and Versant Ventures managing director Thomas Woiwode said: “We are delighted to welcome Jørgen and Tim to our team.
“Their combined experience brings a wide range of financial and healthcare experience that will be invaluable as Therachon continues its evolution as a clinical-stage company and moves into the next stages of growth.”
Petersen said: “We are pleased to lead this European investment with a strong syndicate of US investors who share our perspective on Therachon’s potential as a promising European rare disease company.”
Dr. Petersen has been a venture partner at Novo Holdings since September 2017. After nine years in clinical and academic medicine in Denmark and the United States, Dr. Petersen spent 18 years in senior research and development roles in Denmark, Switzerland, the United States, France and Germany.
He co-founded and built the Nasdaq-listed biotech company Zealand Pharma (ZEAL.CO), established the Immunology franchise at Merck, and has held leadership roles at Lundbeck and Novo Nordisk.
He has industrial research and development experience across multiple therapeutic areas, including CNS, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, oncology and autoimmune disease, and has been involved in a number of major pharmaceutical licensing deals and alliances.
Mr. Petersen received his M.D., Ph.D. and DMSc from the University of Copenhagen and an Executive MBA degree from the Technical University of Denmark.
Mr. Anderson is director and co-founder of Cowen Healthcare Investments, a private investment fund sponsored by an affiliate of Cowen Inc., a diversified financial services firm.
In addition, he also serves on the board of Compass Therapeutics and the investment committee of Lagunita Biosciences. Prior to Cowen Healthcare Investments, Mr. Anderson was an investment banker in Cowen and Company’s healthcare investment practice. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College.
Source: Company Press Release