Washington Editor

Achaogen raised more than $26 million in a Series B round of financing to fund its antibacterial research and development efforts.

The South San Francisco-based company, which focuses on small molecules for infections caused by bacteria but also inhibit the emergence of resistance, plans to use the funds over an undisclosed period to advance its lead program through clinical proof of concept and to progress additional programs through preclinical development. Founded just two years ago on its SOS-pathway program, Achaogen's broadening efforts to date proved attractive in bringing investors to the table.

"We have a much deeper pipeline," said John Hollway, its vice president of business development, "and all the programs have great potential." Achaogen's "core goal," he told BioWorld Today, is to give physicians "a tool in their arsenal" to combat the growing problem of resistant bacteria.

Its lead efforts around the SOS-pathway program are aimed at inhibiting bacterial resistance and hypersensitization of bacteria to fluoroquinolones such as Cipro (ciprofloxacin). To date there has been "great progress" in demonstrating effectiveness, Hollway said. The company has yet to designate a clinical lead out of that program but is likely to do so some time next year, and eventually find a partner to carry it forward.

Beyond that work, Achaogen is advancing an aminoglycoside program that was in-licensed earlier this year. That antibiotic class is used to inhibit bacterial protein synthesis, and the company's efforts are focused on developing compounds that address aminoglycoside-resistant Gram-negative pathogens. It came from Carlsbad, Calif.-based Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc., which received $1.5 million in Achaogen stock in return and also is entitled to milestone payments and royalties.

The company's third program was generated internally with a broader spectrum focus on hospital-acquired Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogens.

Achaogen, which raised $15 million in its Series A round upon its inception, wasn't yet in need of money, Hollway said, but a new investor was ready to buy in: Domain Venture Partners. The Princeton, N.J.-based firm led the round and named Bob More to Achaogen's board in the process. All the company's first-round backers also participated, a group that includes 5AM Ventures, of Menlo Park, Calif.; ARCH Venture Partners, of Chicago; Venrock Associates, of New York; and Versant Ventures, also of Menlo Park.

CoDa Gets $10M In Series A

CoDa Therapeutics Inc. brought in $10 million in its first round of venture capital financing to move its topical wound care programs into the clinic.

The San Diego-based biopharmaceutical company, which was founded last year, expects to use its new money to complete formulation, analytical, stability and toxicology studies to support investigational new drug applications, followed by Phase I and II trials in ophthalmic and acute skin indications. Its lead compound is called Nexagon, a small anti-connexin oligonucleotide that down-regulates the proteins that form gap junctions and reduces cell-to-cell communication after an injury. Preclinical studies have shown that a single application reduces cell death, swelling, inflammation, scarring and time to wound closure in a range of tissue including the eye, skin, spinal cord and brain.

Domain was the sole investor, but CoDA expects to close an additional $5 million to $10 million during the next three months.

No Comments