Crinetics Pharmaceuticals Snags $63.5 Million in Series B Funding

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Five months after its lead drug began Phase I testing San Diego-based Crinetics Pharmaceuticals Inc has secured $63.5 million in Series B financing.

Crinetics said it will use the funds to continue development of its lead product CRN00808, which is in early-stage trial for acromegaly, a hormonal disorder. CRN00808 is a nonpeptide somatostatin agonist designed to be taken orally to free patients from painful injected therapies and the scheduling of frequent clinic visits to receive them, according to company information. Crinetics initiated a Phase I study in October 2017. The double-blind, placebo-controlled study will evaluate the safety, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of CRN00808 in 83 healthy volunteers. Additionally, the trial will test CRN00808’s ability to suppress serum IGF-1 and GHRH-stimulated GH levels. CRN00808 is the first candidate Crinetics has moved into the clinical stage.

In addition to the development of CRN00808, Crinetics said it will use some of the funding “to develop additional new targeted therapeutics for endocrine disorders and endocrine-related cancers, and for general corporate purposes.”

The latest investment round was led by Perceptive Advisors and includes new investors RA Capital and OrbiMed. Existing investors 5AM Ventures, Versant Ventures and Vivo Capital participated in the financing as well, the company said.

Scott Struthers, the founder and chief executive officer of Crinetics, said he was delighted to have “some of the world’s most prominent healthcare investors” support the company as it moves into its next phase of growth.

 “This fundraising puts us on a strong financial footing that allows us to further the development of CRN00808 and advance our pipeline of additional internally-discovered drug programs. We believe Crinetics is poised to make a meaningful contribution to the treatment of rare endocrine disorders and today’s successful fundraising validates that promise and our strategy to date,” Struthers said in a statement.

Joseph Edelman, founder and CEO of Series B backer Perceptive Advisors, touted the potential of Crinetics’ internally developed programs. Edelman said those assets have the potential not only to treat conditions such as acromegaly but also neuroendocrine tumors, hyperinsulinism and Cushing's disease.

"There is considerable unmet need in rare endocrine disorders, and we are excited to be a part of this effort to bring new options to patients and their physicians,” Edelman said in a statement.

As part of the financing, two members of the Perceptive Advisors team have been appointed to the Crinetics Board of Directors. Weston Nichols, an analyst, and Matthew K. Furst, who has served as Senior Advisor for Perceptive, have taken the board positions. Another board change includes the departure of Vivo Capital’s Mahendra G. Shah. He will be replaced by Jack B. Nielsen, a managing director at Vivo.

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