MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwire - 02/16/11) - Versartis, Inc., an emerging biotechnology company developing novel therapeutics for patients with endocrine disorders, today announced completion of a $21 million Series B financing. The funding was led by New Leaf Venture Partners and Advent Venture Partners' Advent Life Sciences fund also joined the round along with existing investors Index Ventures and Amunix. Versartis plans to use the proceeds primarily to conduct clinical trials of its lead product, VRS-317, for growth hormone deficiency (GHD) in both adult and pediatric patients. VRS-317 is a once monthly form of recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH).
Effective with the close of the financing, Versartis announced the expansion of its Board of Directors to five members: Srini Akkaraju, M.D., Ph.D., Managing Director, New Leaf Venture Partners; Kevin Johnson, Ph.D., Partner, Index Ventures; Shahzad Malik, General Partner, Advent Venture Partners; Willem "Pim" Stemmer, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Amunix; and Jeffrey L. Cleland, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Versartis, Inc.
Commenting on New Leaf Venture Partners' new investment, Srini Akkaraju, M.D., Ph.D., said, "Based on the track record of Versartis management along with the encouraging preclinical data seen to date, we are optimistic that the potential of VRS-317 and its once-monthly dosing regimen address key unmet needs in the treatment of patients with growth hormone deficiency."
"This is an exciting time to invest in Versartis," added Shahzad Malik, General Partner, Advent Venture Partners. "Its focus on applying the proprietary XTEN technology to recombinant human growth hormone provides a significant opportunity to expand the current market for rhGH products."
Preclinical data previously presented have demonstrated that VRS-317 provides comparable biological activity and safety to daily rhGH with a lower total monthly dose of rhGH. Versartis currently plans to begin enrollment in a multi-center Phase 1 study in adult GHD patients in the first quarter of 2011.
Versartis, Inc. is a biotechnology company developing therapeutics for the treatment of endocrine disorders. The company's lead product candidate is VRS-317, a once monthly form of human growth hormone. Versartis is pursuing the development of new therapeutic proteins utilizing the Amunix novel half-life extension XTEN technology. 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 NLV Partners
New Leaf Venture Partners is a leader in healthcare technology venture investing. Our investment professionals bring a unique blend of technological, clinical, and operational experience to our investments. We work closely with our entrepreneurs to help build successful portfolio companies. We focus primarily on later stage biopharmaceutical products, early stage medical devices, and laboratory infrastructure technologies.
New Leaf currently manages $1.1 billion in assets. This includes our newest fund, New Leaf Ventures II, L.P., which closed with commitments of $450 million in October 2007, New Leaf Ventures I, L.P. and the healthcare technology portfolio of the Sprout Group, one of the oldest U.S. venture capital fund groups. For more information please visit http://www.nlvpartners.com.
About Advent Venture Partners
Advent Venture Partners is one of Europe's most established growth and venture capital firms, investing in technology and life sciences businesses run by great teams that want a pragmatic and well-connected partner by their side.
The Advent life sciences team is a leader in European life sciences venture capital. Its investments include: PowderMed, a therapeutic DNA vaccine company sold to Pfizer; Thiakis, an obesity treatment company acquired by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals; Respivert, a drug discovery company focused on respiratory diseases that was acquired by Johnson & Johnson; Cellnovo, a biomedical device company developing a revolutionary mobile insulin pump system; EUSA Pharma, a rapidly growing transatlantic speciality pharmaceutical company focused on late-stage oncology, pain control and critical care products; and, Algeta (ALGETA.OL), an oncology company developing treatments for bone metastases and disseminated tumour types.
In November 2010, Advent announced the final close of the first life sciences-focused fund raised by the firm, Advent Life Sciences. www.adventventures.com
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