Kythera lands $37M D round for PhIII fat-zapping study
A group of some of the top venture funds in life sciences has banded together to back a $37.4 million D round for Los Angeles-based Kythera Biopharmaceuticals as the aesthetic medicine biotech readies a late-stage U.S. study of its new treatment for the double chin. Versant Ventures, Arch Venture Partners, Prospect Venture Partners, JAFCO, Partner Funds management, INVUS Financial Advisors, BBT Capital Management/Apothecary Capital, Altitude Life Science Ventures, Foley Ventures and Latham and Watkins all joined in the round, which brings Kythera's venture haul to $108 million.
The primary focus at Kythera is ATX-101, a molecule that has been tested in 7 clinical studies and 350 patients. The drug has demonstrated promise at zapping specific pockets of fat, like the ones that accumulate under the chin, by targeting fat cells while steering clear of healthy tissue. Late-stage studies were launched in Europe last year, where the treatment is partnered with Bayer. The U.S. Phase III is expected to launch in the next few months.
"These new investments are a further powerful validation of Kythera's novel, biotechnology-based approach to aesthetic medicine," said Kythera CEO Keith Leonard. "We believe this new round of financing in today's volatile economy is a testament to the robust scientific foundation of our lead product candidate and the promise of its future potential."
Bayer's Intendis unit provided Kythera a $43 million upfront and promises of $330 million in milestones in exchange for ex-U.S. and Canadian rights to the treatment.
- here's the Kythera release