Corporate VCs crowd into $43M round for Celladon

La Jolla, CA-based Celladon has rounded up a $43 million capital injection from a gang of venture groups which includes several prominent Big Pharma investors. Pfizer Venture Investments led the round, and was joined by Novartis Venture Funds, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, Lundbeckfond Ventures--an independent group owned by the Lundbeck Foundation--H&Q Healthcare/Life Sciences Investors, GBS Venture Partners and Venrock Associates.

The money will be used to engineer late-stage work on Mydicar, a heart failure treatment that recently gained fast-track status at the FDA. It also marks a major milestone for Celladon, which announced five years ago that it had raised $30 million from Kleiner Perkins and others to get Mydicar into the clinic.

Back in June Celladon released promising data from its mid-stage study of Mydicar, a treatment designed to replenish a depleted stock of enzymes in patients with advanced heart failure. The high-dose group in the small study saw a significant drop in time spent in the hospital, a big expense for payers covering a growing population of people who suffer from advanced heart failure. A year after therapy the high dose group also reflected an 88% reduction in the risk of subsequent major cardiovascular events, such as transplants and death.

"We are pleased to have attracted such a top tier syndicate to support advancement of Mydicar for the benefit of advanced heart failure patients," said Krisztina Zsebo, Ph.D., the CEO of Celladon Corporation. "The positive results of the phase II CUPID Trial demonstrated the potential of Mydicar to become an important treatment for patients with chronic, advanced heart failure."

- here's the press release