Cydan Raises $34 Million to Expedite New Rare Genetic Disease Therapies

Mathew Shanley

Orphan disease therapy and drug accelerator Cydan announced Tuesday morning that a new round of financing has raised a total of $34 million to advance the company’s efforts to create novel therapies for patients living with rare genetic diseases.

Financing was provided by longtime investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Pfizer Venture Investments, Alexandria Venture Investments, and Lundbeckfond Ventures, and first-time investor Longitude Capital provided financial assistance, as well.

Per Cydan’s website, the company’s mission is to “develop therapies that can change the lives of people living with rare genetic diseases.” Currently, the company is working with entrepreneurs, researchers and clinicians, as well as universities and hospitals.

“Our initial financing enabled us to validate our model; in less than four years, we evaluated numerous diseases and multiple therapeutic approaches to successfully launch two well-funded companies that are quickly advancing promising new treatments for patients in need,” said Chris Adams, Ph.D., co-founder and chief executive officer of Cydan in a press release. “This round of financing shows continued confidence by our syndicate that our approach is effective, and extends our operations for another four years, increasing our ability to positively impact outcomes for patients with rare genetic diseases.”

In September, Imara, a Cydan development company, reported favorable preclinical and phase 1 data on a study evaluating phosphodiesterase 9 (PDE9) inhibitor IMR-687 in sickle cell disease. A Phase 2 study in adult patients is expected to begin in the 4th quarter of 2017. Additionally, Vtsse, Cydan’s first spin-off company, was acquired by Sucampo Pharmaceuticals in April for approximately $200 million after beginning the development of a novel therapy for Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC).

Cydan’s approach to accelerating the development of these uncommon conditions begins with the identification of compelling scientific idea, and promising drug candidate from respected sources, including those from academia, government, biotech and the pharmaceutical industry. Investigational therapies are advanced with help from an experienced team using a proven de-risking process. After the process, Cydan establishes independent companies that can progress these programs through clinical development and regulatory approval.

The new funding is only part of Cydan’s exciting news for the week: the company has also announced the expansion of its leadership team with the hiring of Shi Yin Foo, M.D. Ph.D. MMSc as chief medical officer and Niels Svenstrup, Ph.D. as vice president of development. Both have experience in high-ranking positions at pharmaceutical companies, holding positions at Cardioxyl Pharmaceuticals and Ascendis Pharma, respectively.

For more information on funding for rare disease-related programs, follow Rare Disease Report on Facebook and Twitter.
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