Pearl lands $69M Series C for mid-stage COPD program

The four-year-old Pearl Therapeutics, which was founded by a pair of Nektar execs armed with some in-licensed particle technology that could be used to treat respiratory ailments, has rounded up $69 million in its third venture round as it pursues critical mid-stage data for a lead therapy.

The round for the Redwood City, CA-based biotech was led by Vatera Healthcare, a venture capital firm established by Michael Jaharis, who co-founded of Kos Pharmaceuticals. Clarus, New Leaf and 5AM all came back to the table to help bring the developer's venture haul to a collective $102 million.

Much of the new money will be devoted to PT003, a combination therapy for COPD which is headed into a Phase IIb clinical trial. "We have initiated a comprehensive Phase 2b clinical program for PT003, including an ongoing Phase 2b dose-ranging study that compares PT003 against Spiriva as well as four additional studies, which we plan to commence in the first half of 2011," said Howard Rosen, interim president and CEO of Pearl. A late-stage trial is expected to get under way in late 2012.

Pearl was founded by Adrian Smith and Sarvajna Dwivedi, formerly a director of product development at Nektar, which created Exubera, an inhaled insulin therapy that proved to be a colossal failure in the marketplace.

- here's the Pearl release for more info