California upstart Tricida has raised its highest level of cash to date with a $55 million Series C funding round backed by major biotech VC players.
The South San Francisco company saw its latest round led by new investor Longitude Capital, with participation by new investor Vivo Capital and existing investors OrbiMed, Sibling Capital Ventures and Limulus Venture Partners.
As is now commonplace with large raises, David Hirsch, MD at Longitude, has also joined the Tricida board.
The biotech is set to post data in the coming months from its first-in-human, 100-patient Phase I/II study of its lead compound, TRC101. The drug is being tested in patients with chronic kidney disease.
TRC101 is a nonabsorbed drug designed to sit in the gastrointestinal tract and clear out those excess electrolytes, potentially saving patients from the need for dialysis.
The biotech said it is now preparing to discuss the safety and efficacy results from the study with the FDA in a Type B meeting later this year.
“Establishing clinical proof of concept for TRC101 is ahead of schedule,” said Gerrit Klaerner, Tricida’s CEO and president. “This rapid progress has allowed us to expand our already very strong syndicate of investors. We welcome Longitude and Vivo to the Tricida team.”
Klaerner is something of a veteran in this space, having founded the kidney-focused Ilypsa in 2003 and negotiated its $420 million sale to Amgen ($AMGN) four years later.
He went on to start hyperkalemia specialty pharma Relypsa ($RLYP)--which last week saw a $1.53 billion bid from European healthcare company Galenica.
This latest round builds on the $10 million coming from its Series A round in 2014 and the $30 million Series B a year later as it nears the $100 million mark. The company did not say whether the next step will be an IPO.
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