From: Corey Goodman [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2013 8:27 AM
To: Jane Gyorgy
Subject: what I do in my spare time when I’m not dealing with NPS misconduct …
In biotech trifecta, startup lassos $31M, a CEO and a lead drug from Pfizer
January 3, 2013 | By John Carroll
A San Francisco-based startup biotech has landed a seasoned industry veteran to take the helm, in-licensed a Phase II-ready treatment for chronic migraine from Pfizer ($PFE) and lined up $31 million in venture backing from a team of high-profile venture backers. VenBio led the round with Canaan Partners, InterWest Partners, and Sofinnova Ventures all chipping in.
Labrys Biologics snagged the worldwide rights to RN-307, an antibody that binds to calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), which was in Rinat’s pipeline when Pfizer bought out the company in 2006. And serial biotech entrepreneur and noted neuroscientist Corey Goodman, a managing director at venBio and chairman of the newly formed developer, says it will travel a well-understood pathway in an attempt to significantly reduce the frequency and severity of an unending series of migraines.
“RN-307 is an ideal candidate for a prophylactic drug for chronic migraine that is capable of reducing both frequency and severity of migraine without debilitating side effects,” said Goodman. “There is significant interest in new treatments that can improve upon the limited efficacy of current pharmaceuticals.”
Running the show is Steve James, a biotech veteran with 20 years’ experience in the industry, including a stint as CEO of KAI Pharmaceuticals, recently scooped up by Amgen ($AMGN) for $315 million. The upstart biotech plans to launch its Phase II study later this year.
“Chronic migraine sufferers represent a large, underserved patient group and there is significant interest in the industry in developing a treatment option with superior outcomes,” said Wende Hutton, a general partner at Canaan Partners, who is joining the board. “Labrys now retains full ownership of a promising drug candidate for migraine and other indications which are causally linked to CGRP.”
Labrys Biologics Secures $31 Million Series A Financing from Venture Capital Firms; Acquires Phase 2 Ready Antibody for Chronic Migraine from Pfizer
Published: Thursday, 3 Jan 2013 | 7:30 AM ET
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Labrys Biologics Inc., a company focused on treatments for chronic migraine, today announced the completion of a $31 Million Series A financing from four leading venture capital firms, venBio, Canaan Partners, InterWest Partners, and Sofinnova Ventures. With the close of the financing, Labrys has acquired RN-307 from Pfizer Inc., a Phase 2 ready anti-CGRP humanized monoclonal antibody for the treatment of chronic migraine. In addition, Steven P. James has been appointed President and CEO.
Under the terms of the agreement with Pfizer, Labrys acquired worldwide rights to RN-307. Pfizer received an upfront payment and will be eligible to receive milestone payments, royalties on any sales, and a liquidity payment if Labrys is acquired. Additional details were not disclosed.
RN-307 is a monoclonal antibody that binds to calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), a validated target in migraines. RN-307 has successfully completed Phase 1 trials in more than 74 patients, and Labrys expects to initiate Phase 2 clinical trials in 2013. RN-307 was originally discovered and developed by Rinat Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Pfizer in 2006.
“RN-307 is an ideal candidate for a prophylactic drug for chronic migraine that is capable of reducing both frequency and severity of migraines without debilitating side effects,” said Corey Goodman, Ph.D., Chairman, founder of Labrys, and a Managing Director at venBio, which led the financing. “There is significant interest in new treatments that can improve upon the limited efficacy of current pharmaceuticals.”
Chronic migraine, defined as fifteen or more headache days per month, is a serious and widespread condition that affects approximately 6 million people, or 2% of the U.S. population. Chronic migraineurs suffer from debilitating headaches frequently accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and fatigue, and they often report periods of lost productivity. Migraines affect women over men by a ratio of three to one. There is a significant need for chronic migraine therapies with better efficacy and improved safety.
“RN-307 is an example of Pfizer’s leading expertise in designing optimized biologics, and we are pleased that the capable team at Labrys will continue to pursue the development of this potential candidate for patients with migraines,” said Jaume Pons, SVP and Chief Scientific Officer of Pfizer’s Rinat Research Unit based in South San Francisco, California.
Steve James, who has been named president and CEO of Labrys, has over 20 years of pharma and biotech experience most recently as CEO of KAI Pharmaceuticals which was acquired in 2012 by Amgen.
“Labrys is off to a terrific start with a promising drug candidate and a strong financial position,” said James. “We have a defined regulatory path in chronic migraine, a broad market opportunity with significant demand for better treatments, and a top syndicate of venture investors that will bring tremendous strategic value to the company.”
“Chronic migraine sufferers represent a large, underserved patient group and there is significant interest in the industry in developing a treatment option with superior outcomes,” said Wende Hutton, General Partner at Canaan Partners. “Labrys now retains full ownership of a promising drug candidate for migraine and other indications which are causally linked to CGRP.”
Joining Steve James, Corey Goodman, and Wende Hutton on the board of Labrys are Nina Kjellson of InterWest Partners and Mike Powell of Sofinnova Ventures.
About Labrys Biologics
Labrys Biologics is a private, venture-financed development stage biotechnology company focused on treatments for chronic migraine. Labrys’ lead candidate, RN-307, is an anti-CGRP monoclonal antibody for the treatment of chronic migraine slated to enter Phase 2 clinical trials in 2013. Founded in late 2012, Labrys is backed by venBio, Canaan Partners, InterWest Partners and Sofinnova Ventures.