Japanese drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical teamed up with biotech venture firm Frazier Healthcare Partners to launch a startup focused on new therapies for urologic diseases, joining a $41 million A round to get the company up and running.
The biotech, Outpost Medicine, is getting started with a clinical-stage treatment for stress urinary incontinence, which occurs when physical activity causes patients to lose control of their bladders. Outpost licensed worldwide rights to the oral drug from Takeda on undisclosed terms, rechristening it OP-233 and planning to push it through clinical development.
The drug completed a Phase I safety study in healthy women in 2014, and Outpost believes it can eventually treat a sizable unmet need. Stress urinary incontinence, which differs from overactive bladder, affects about 18 million people in the U.S., according to Outpost, and there are no therapies approved to treat it. Common drugs for urinary incontinence have proven ineffective for the disorder, Outpost said.
Frazier led Outpost's first-round fundraise, joined by Adams Street Partners, Novo A/S, and Vivo Capital. Frazier Partner David Socks is leading the company as interim CEO, joined by colleague Tachi Yamada in the chairman role. Frazier's Dan Estes is taking a seat on Outpost's board alongside Terry Gould from Adams Street, Peter Bisgaard of Novo and Chen Yu from Vivo.
"We believe OP-233 is an exceptional asset around which to form Outpost Medicine," Socks said in a statement. "With leadership from a world-class team and support from a premier group of life science venture investors, we believe Outpost has the essential elements to create a leading company developing therapeutics in urology and gynecology."
Frazier is working off of a $262 million fund, closed last year, that the firm plans to invest exclusively in life sciences. The Seattle-headquartered VC is looking mostly at first-time financings, earmarking between $10 million and $25 million for each company as it works to build out its portfolio of promising biotech startups.
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