Alder broadens antibody work with $38M D round

Armed with a promising approach to antibody development and partnered with Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) on a rich development deal, Bothell, WA-based Alder Biopharmaceuticals has snapped up a $38 million venture round.

It's been four years since Alder had to raise venture cash. The biotech's Series C had contributed $40 million in 2007. Then BMS signed up for a $1.07 billion pact in 2009, paying $85 million upfront to partner on Alder's lead program, an IL-6 inhibitor for rheumatoid arthritis--ALD518. Alder is studying 518 in mid-stage cancer trials while BMS pursues a program for autoimmune diseases. The new money will also be used to put ALD403, Alder's calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) inhibiting antibody therapeutic, in the clinic for migraine. And there's also a PCSK9 program--for dyslipidemia--that's in the wings.

"This financing will provide us with the resources to advance ALD403, which targets well-validated biology in treating migraine and has a similar potential as ALD518 to be a significant game-changer in its disease area," says CEO Randall Schatzman. Schatzman and the core executive team at Alder, a 2010 Fierce 15 company, initially boot-strapped the company with their own money.

Alder has been touting its yeast-based approach to manufacturing antibodies, which they consider far more efficient than the traditional use of mammalian cells. If Alder's more efficient IL-6 therapy works as hoped, it can beat out therapies already on the market.

New investor Novo Ventures came in to lead the round and was joined by Sevin Rosen Funds, Ventures West, WRF Capital, H.I.G. Ventures, Delphi Ventures and TPG Biotech.

- here's the press release