REDWOOD CITY, CA--(Marketwired - October 08, 2013) - Versartis, Inc., an emerging biotechnology company developing novel therapeutics for patients with endocrine disorders, today announced completion of a $20 million Series D financing led by new investor Sofinnova Ventures. Existing investors Advent Venture Partners' Advent Life Sciences fund, Aisling Capital, Amunix Operating Inc., Index Ventures and New Leaf Venture Partners all participated in this round. As a result of their investment, General Partner Srinivas Akkaraju, MD, PhD, will represent Sofinnova on the Versartis Board of Directors. The proceeds from this financing will primarily be used to prepare for an international Phase 3 pediatric trial of VRS-317, the company's proprietary long-acting recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) for the treatment of growth hormone deficiency (GHD). This financing round brings the company's total venture capital raised in 2013 to $45 million.
Dr. Akkaraju said, "The Versartis team has consistently generated groundbreaking data for their up to once-monthly treatment for patients with growth hormone deficiency, which clearly differentiates it from other attempts at a long-acting growth hormone. Sofinnova is pleased to have the opportunity to invest in Versartis at this time and to support the company's progression as an exciting late-stage opportunity."
The company's VERTICAL study of VRS-317 in pre-pubertal children with growth hormone deficiency (GHD) is currently being conducted in approximately 30 sites in the United States and was initiated following the successful results of a Phase 1 study in adults with GHD. The Phase 1b/2a VERTICAL study is designed in two stages: the first stage (Phase 1b) utilized a single ascending-dose design to evaluate the safety and tolerability of six dosing levels of a subcutaneous (SC) dose of VRS-317. The second stage (Phase 2a) was initiated last month and will further study these patients to determine the efficacy of VRS-317 as defined by an increase in height velocity over three and six months of treatment.
"We remain on track to complete the Phase 2a portion of our ongoing pediatric trial of VRS-317 as planned to enable initiation of our Phase 3 trial in 2014," stated Versartis Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey L. Cleland, PhD. "These latest funds represent important validation of our recently presented Phase 1b results in pediatric patients and provide us with additional resources to continue our positive momentum as a leader in long-acting growth hormone therapy."
PLEASE NOTE: Dr. Cleland will present a company update at The 12th Annual BIO Investor Forum in San Francisco at noon on Wednesday, October 9.
Versartis, Inc. is a biotechnology company developing therapeutics for the treatment of endocrine disorders. The company's lead product candidate is VRS-317, a novel long-acting form of human growth hormone. The European Commission recently granted Orphan Medicinal Product Designation to VRS-317, which is currently being investigated for safety and efficacy in pediatric GHD patients for up to once-monthly dosing. Versartis is pursuing the development of new therapeutic proteins utilizing the proprietary Amunix half-life extension technology (XTEN). XTEN is a novel hydrophilic sequence of natural amino acids and is expressed as a fusion protein with a therapeutically active peptide or protein. New compounds developed by Versartis using the XTEN technology are expected to provide improved therapeutic outcomes such as enhanced efficacy/compliance, fewer side effects, prolonged half-life (up to monthly dosing), as well as low-cost production and enhanced stability. Further information on Versartis can be found at www.versartis.com.
About Sofinnova Ventures
Sofinnova Ventures has over 40 years of experience building healthcare companies into market leaders. With $1.4 billion in committed capital, the firm applies capital and expertise to take companies from inception to exit. Sofinnova closed its life science-focused $440M fund, SVP VIII, in late 2011. The firm's investment team of MDs and PhDs has significant scientific, operational and strategic experience, and specializes in financing later stage clinical products and growth companies. Our team partners with entrepreneurs to address patients' unmet medical needs and develop innovative products. Sofinnova Ventures has offices in Menlo Park and La Jolla, California. For more information, please visit www.sofinnova.com.