SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--aTyr Pharma, Inc. (“aTyr”), a biotherapeutics company engaged in the discovery and development of Physiocrine-based therapeutics to address rare diseases, today announced the successful completion of a $76 million Series E financing led by new investors Sofinnova Ventures and an undisclosed large institutional investor in the biotechnology industry. Additional new investors taking part in this round of financing include certain funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc.; Federated Investors, Inc.; Deerfield; Rock Springs Capital Management; EcoR1 Capital; Sphera Global Healthcare and two additional undisclosed institutional investors. Current venture capital investors and a current public investment fund also took part in the raise.
The Company plans to use the proceeds to further develop its pipeline and advance its lead program through clinical trials, including an ongoing Phase 1b/2 trial of Resolaris, an investigational new drug representing aTyr’s first Physiocrine-based product candidate in the clinic.
The Company also announced the addition of Srinivas Akkaraju, M.D., Ph.D., and general partner at Sofinnova Ventures to the board of directors in conjunction with the financing. Dr. Akkaraju, a physician-scientist with a successful track record in public company investing, brings with him more than 16 years of biopharmaceutical experience in both the private and public sectors. Dr. Akkaraju’s past and current board seats include Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Seattle Genetics, Synageva BioPharma, ZS Pharma, Amarin, and Versartis.
“The proceeds from this financing, led by top-tier biotechnology institutional investors, will help support the development of our lead clinical candidate Resolaris and its Phase 1b/2 trial for patients with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), as well as expansion to additional indications,” said John Mendlein, CEO and executive chairman of aTyr Pharma. “We are pleased to welcome Dr. Akkaraju, a successful and long-time investor in biopharmaceutical companies, to our board of directors at this important juncture for the Company. We look forward to working together as we position ourselves to advance a diverse portfolio of Physiocrine-based medicines to treat patients with a variety of rare diseases with severe unmet medical needs.”
Physiocrines comprise naturally occurring proteins that aTyr believes promote homeostasis, a fundamental process of restoring stressed or diseased tissue to a healthier state. Physiocrines are extracellular signaling regions of tRNA synthetases, an ancient family of enzymes that catalyze a key step in protein synthesis. aTyr is currently focused on Physiocrines that act as endogenous modulators of the immune system. Physiocrines offer the opportunity for modulating biological pathways through newly discovered, naturally occurring mechanisms, which may provide advantages over engineered immuno-suppressive therapeutics, including the potential for improved patient outcomes and reduced side effect profiles.
About aTyr Pharma
aTyr Pharma is engaged in the discovery and clinical development of innovative medicines for patients suffering from severe rare diseases using its knowledge of Physiocrine biology, a newly discovered set of physiological modulators. To protect this pipeline, aTyr built an intellectual property estate comprising 24 patents and over 200 pending patent applications that are solely owned or exclusively licensed by aTyr. aTyr’s key programs are currently focused on severe, rare diseases characterized by immune dysregulation, for which there are currently limited or no treatment options. The privately held biotech was founded by Professors Paul Schimmel and Xiang-Lei Yang, two leading aminoacyl tRNA synthetase scientists at The Scripps Research Institute. Investors include Alta Partners; Cardinal Partners; Domain Associates; Polaris Partners; Sofinnova Ventures; and certain funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc.; Federated Investors, Inc.; Deerfield; Rock Springs Capital Management; EcoR1 Capital; Sphera Global Healthcare; and four undisclosed institutional investors.
For more information, please visit http://www.atyrpharma.com.