After 8 years of patient R&D work, Aileron Therapeutics has banked a $12 million tranche from its lineup of investors--which includes four Big Pharma venture groups--to back the first-ever human study of a stapled peptide. The tranche lifts Aileron's Series D, initially announced in 2009, to $42 million.
Aileron's technology "staples" peptides into a biologically potent structure that can penetrate cells, creating stable proteins that can be used to go after a slate of tough targets. Their first human study will be a Phase I trial for orphan endocrine disorders. The current investors--Apple Tree Partners, Excel Venture Management, Lilly Ventures, Novartis Venture Funds, Roche Venture Fund and SR One--put up the cash, drawn by the notion that stapled peptides could represent a new class of frontline therapies for serious diseases.
"These proceeds will allow us to advance ALRN-5281 through Phase I development and continue to develop our pipeline of Stapled Peptide drugs," Joseph A. Yanchik III, president and chief executive officer of Aileron Therapeutics, said in a release. "This is a critical next step for our company, our collaborators and the emerging Stapled Peptide field."
Aileron--a 2009 Fierce 15 company--nailed a high-profile, $1.1 billion development pact with Roche ($RHHBY) in 2010 which includes a focus on a dual inhibitor of MDM2 and MDMX for p53-dependent cancers.
- here's the press release
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