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Protagonist Therapeutics Pulls in $14 Million, Led by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), for Peptide Pills


6/4/2013 7:08:11 AM

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Protagonist Therapeutics Raises $14 Million in Series B Venture Financing

MENLO PARK, Calif.
, June 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Protagonist Therapeutics, Inc. today announced the completion of a $14 million Series B venture financing. The financing, led by new investor Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation (JJDC), also included the participation of Series A investors Lilly Ventures and Starfish Ventures (Melbourne, Australia). The new funding will support the discovery and development of Protagonist's pipeline of oral di-sulfide rich peptide (DRP) therapeutics that combine the best properties of small molecule drugs and large molecule biologics in a single chemical entity.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130501/MM06086LOGO)

As part of the transaction, Asish K. Xavier, Ph.D., Vice President, Venture Investments at JJDC, will join the Protagonist Board as a Director.

"This participation by JJDC as a new investor, along with the continued support from major existing investors Lilly Ventures and Starfish Ventures creates a strong syndicate and adds a new dimension in the growth of Protagonist. The new financing will serve to support R&D efforts for the internal programs focused on well-differentiated applications of oral peptides to novel targets for diseases where neither small molecules nor biologics can currently offer a good solution," said Dinesh V. Patel, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Protagonist Therapeutics.

"Previously, we have validated our technology platform through selective collaborations with leading companies in the field of peptide therapeutics. We are very committed to these partnerships and will continue to enhance these synergistic relationships over the years to come," added Dr. Patel. "This Series B financing allows us to leverage our internal discovery engine, giving Protagonist the opportunity of having multiple internal and collaborative clinical assets by 2015-16."

About Protagonist Therapeutics
Protagonist Therapeutics is a U.S.-incorporated biotechnology company pursuing the discovery and development of disulfide-rich peptides (DRPs) as well differentiated alternatives to biologics, and also as new chemical entities (NCEs) against those targets and life threatening diseases for which ideal small molecule and/or biologic options are unavailable. DRPs are a proven chemical class of drugs with numerous examples of orally stable and injectable NCEs on the market and in various stages of clinical development. The company has a validated technology platform well suited to explore the full potential of the DRP scaffold class. It comprises of a purposefully built computational design environment, directed evolution approaches to prepare millions of molecules via phage libraries, and classical small molecule medicinal chemistry-type analoging and SAR development.

Protagonist is a spin-out of University of Queensland's Institute of Molecular Biosciences (IMB) and has discovery operations in Menlo Park, California USA and Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. For further information, please visit http://www.protagonist-inc.com.

SOURCE Protagonist Therapeutics



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