Lycera banks $11M tranche for immunomodulator programs

Lycera has snapped up the second tranche of its Series A, banking $11 million and paving a new section of the road to the clinic for two new oral immunomodulating drugs.

The second tranche lands almost exactly a year after the developer booked the first $10 million in a first round that totals $36 million. And Lycera CEO Bill Sibold tells FierceBiotech that "both programs are moving right on target, right at the pace we laid out." At this pace, he adds, Lycera will be in the clinic with its first immunomoulating therapy next year with the second development program going into its first clinical trial about a year after that.

Lycera is pursuing two different pathways that it believes will converge on immunosuppression, a big arena for developers who are out to discover new and more effective therapies that can stop the immune system from attacking healthy tissue. The biotech is building its drug programs on the lab work of Dr. Gary Glick from the University of Michigan, Lycera's chief scientific officer. The company's discovery operations are in Ann Arbor, MI, with the business side of Lycera based in Cambridge, MA. Sibold adds that the developer will gradually add to its workforce, which totals 15 now.

Today's tranche comes with the announcement that Jeffrey Leiden, M.D., Ph.D., managing director at Clarus Venture Partners, is joining Lycera as chairman of the board and that Robin S. Goldstein, Ph.D.,has been hired as vice president, preclinical development and program management. With a broad range of targets that includes rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease, Sibold says that he expects that at some stage Lycera will also strike some partnership deals, when the time is ripe.

- here's Lycera's release for more info