SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Principia Biopharma, Inc., a privately-held biopharmaceutical company focused on advancing best-in-class medicines in immunology, autoimmune diseases, and oncology announced that it successfully met its milestone obligations and received its second tranche of funding totaling $12.5 million in July 2012. The investment was led by existing investors New Leaf Venture Partners, OrbiMed Advisors, Morgenthaler Ventures, SROne and Mission Bay Capital. In February 2011, Principia completed a tiered Series A round of financing totaling $36.3 million and received the first tranche of $12 million that same month. Proceeds from this most recent financing will be used to advance Principia's lead molecule towards the clinic and to develop additional programs enabled by the company's reversible covalent platform.
Martin Babler, CEO of Principia, says, "We are pleased to complete the closing of our second tranche as it provides the necessary funding for Principia to advance our lead compound toward our first clinical trials in 2013. We appreciate the continued support from our current investors as we invest in important treatments for cancer and autoimmune disorders."
EXPANSION OF SENIOR MANAGEMENT TEAM
As part of Principia's growth and its initiatives to bring new medicines to patients, the company has expanded its senior management team with the hiring of Jens Oliver Funk, M.D. as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO). Dr. Funk has nearly 20 years of experience in biomedical research and management and joined Principia from Merck Serono, Merck KGaA where he was Senior Vice President of R&D and Global Head of the Therapeutic Area Oncology. Dr. Funk led the advancement of Merck Serono's oncology portfolio and successfully built a dynamic organization in Boston and Darmstadt, Germany, focusing on small molecule and biologics discovery in the fields of cancer and cancer immunotherapy. Dr. Funk has brought more than ten novel drug candidates into clinical development and contributed to the approval of Erbitux® in various indications in Europe.
Earlier in his career Dr. Funk worked in academia for ten years at UCSF, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and the Universities of Erlangen and Munich in research and clinical positions. Dr. Funk received his medical and scientific training at Stanford University, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Lubeck, where he graduated with an M.D. Dr. Funk has co-authored numerous scientific articles in international peer-reviewed journals and is board certified in dermatology.
Martin Babler continued, "As the company expands and advances its portfolio, Jens Oliver brings significant translational experience both in oncology and autoimmune diseases to the company and will contribute to advancing the programs into the clinic as well as prioritizing the assets from a technical and clinical viewpoint. His experience in R&D and as a clinician make him uniquely qualified to help the company maximize opportunities with its broad portfolio of autoimmune and oncology programs."
"Principia Biopharma has made remarkable progress since its initial funding in 2011," stated Dr. Funk. "I look forward to working with the team to further develop the platform and drive our lead programs towards clinical trials. It's truly an exciting time to join the company."
About Principia Biopharma
Principia Biopharma is a private, pre-clinical stage company initially focused on the discovery and development of differentiated small molecule drugs targeting inflammatory/autoimmune diseases as well as cancer. The company expects to submit an IND for its lead program in 2013 and continues to invest in additional programs and its reversible covalent platform. Principia raised a $36.3 million Series A round of investment from a leading group of health care investors including New Leaf Venture Partners, OrbiMed Advisors, Morgenthaler Ventures, SROne and Mission Bay Capital. For more information, please visit the company's website at www.principiabio.com.
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Such statements are only predictions based on management's current projections and goals and are subject to a number of factors and uncertainties. Information in these forward-looking statements is inherently uncertain and the Company's actual results may differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements.
SOURCE Principia Biopharma, Inc.