Venture backers inject $25M into Synageva's rare disease platform

Fledgling developer Synageva BioPharma has lined up a fresh injection of $25 million in venture cash to finance its work on rare diseases--a hot field in the biotech world these days. The Lexington, MA-based biotech says that all of its lead venture backers signed on to the new round, which brings its total financing haul to $70 million.

Much of the money will be used to back SBC-102, an experimental enzyme replacement therapy designed to treat Lysosomal Acid Lipase deficiency. The developer has two other therapies for lysosomal storage disorders and two programs not related to LSDs. Baker Brothers Investments led the last round for Synageva, joining a group which included Tullis Dickerson and Four Partners.

"This financing continues to strengthen Synageva's financial position and provides us with additional resources as we advance our clinical program for SBC-102," said Chris Heberlig, Synageva's vice president of finance. "Our investors responded to the compelling data for our lead program and the exciting pipeline behind it."

ERTs belong to a group of therapies designed to treat rare diseases at a very high cost. That approach made Boston's Genzyme an attractive target worth $20 billion to Sanofi-Aventis, and it's driving new investments at a time the overall venture capital pool has shrunk in size.

- here's the Synageva's release