Louisville, KY, drug developer Apellis Pharmaceuticals raised $47.1 million in venture cash to push its pipeline of treatments for rare diseases, regrouping after aborting an effort to go public earlier this month.
The Series D fundraise was co-led by new investors Cormorant Asset Management, Hillhouse Capital Group and venBio Global Strategic Fund, joining repeat backers Morningside Venture Investments, AJU IB Investment and Epidarex Capital.
With its new capital, Apellis plans to push its lead candidate, APL-2, into 5 Phase II studies, targeting the rare diseases paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, geographic atrophy, refractory myasthenia gravis, neuromyelitis optica and chronic kidney rejection, plus the more common age-related macular degeneration. Behind that is APL-1, an inhaled treatment slated to enter Phase Ib in COPD and Phase II in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis this year.
Each candidate is designed to modulate the immune system by targeting the body's complement pathway, blocking a protein key to the inflammatory process, according Apellis.
Last year, Apellis filed with the SEC to raise $86 million in an IPO, wading into a worsening climate for biotech on Wall Street. Earlier this week, the company pulled that filing as the pace of biotech IPOs slowed to a trickle.
Apellis raised a $33 million C round in late 2014, led by majority shareholder Morningside.
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