Nearly three years after launch, Versant Ventures spinout Pipeline Therapeutics is banking $80 million to push its lead neurodegenerative disease programs through the clinic. The funds will bankroll clinical trials for programs in hearing loss and multiple sclerosis while supporting the company’s earlier-stage work.
All of Pipeline’s investors chipped into the series C round, including Versant, Sectoral Asset Management and Cleva Pharma, with several newcomers also joining in: Perceptive Advisors, Franklin Templeton, Casdin Capital, Samsara BioCapital, Suvretta Capital, Red Tree Venture Capital and a pair of undisclosed investors.
Pipeline is developing PIPE-307 for sensorineural hearing loss, a type of hearing loss caused by damage to the auditory nerve or structures in the inner ear. This program is in a phase 1/2a study, while its MS program is in a phase 1 study in healthy people. The company’s pipeline also includes earlier-stage treatments aimed at remyelination, neuroinflammation and axonal repair.
The financing comes about a year after Pipeline raised $30 million in its series B and nearly three years after it launched out of Versant’s San Diego-based incubator.
Pipeline was born almost four years after Roche teamed up with Versant’s Inception Sciences to discover and develop small molecules for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. In April 2018, Roche acquired one of the programs that came out of that deal, while Versant created Pipeline to continue working on what it calls neuroregenerative therapies.
“Based on the continued progress in the field, we are now positioned to pursue drug candidates that invoke the natural repair processes in several nervous system cell types,” said Clare Ozawa, Ph.D., a managing director at Versant, at the time.