Drug accelerator Cydan has gained a $34 million injection as it eyes deeper inroads into rare diseases for its second fund.
The company, which has spun out several biotechs, is looking to repeat its successes by using the cash boost to seek out preclinical rare disease candidates and then spin out companies with IND-ready programs.
It’s the sort of model it saw with Vtesse, Cydan’s first company launched back in January 2015, which is working on a new therapy for Niemann-Pick disease type C. Vtess was later bought out for $200 million.
Cydan’s second company, Imara, was launched last year and is developing IMR-687, a new treatment for sickle cell disease, and plans a phase 2 within the year.
New investor Longitude Capital joins Cydan’s existing investors in participating in the financing: New Enterprise Associates, which led the round, along with Pfizer Venture Investments, Alexandria Venture Investments, and Lundbeckfond Ventures.
Cydan says it seeks out “compelling scientific ideas and promising drug candidates” from across academic, government, biotech and pharma sources, as it eyes finding early-stage gems with as little risk attached as possible. It then matches these to newly created independent companies, and hopes to help kick-start a new stream of science.
Within its model, a syndicate of Cydan investors will also fund series A financings for any of these new companies to help their teams reach human proof-of-concept.
“Our initial financing enabled us to validate our model, in less than four years, we evaluated numerous diseases and multiple therapeutic approaches to successfully launch two well-funded companies that are quickly advancing promising new treatments for patients in need,” said Chris Adams, Ph.D., co-founder and chief of Cydan.
“This round of financing shows continued confidence by our syndicate that our approach is effective and will extend our operations for another four years, increasing our ability to positively impact outcomes for patients with rare genetic diseases.”