Marquee venture groups start to line up behind stealth biotech's $30M round

Less than a year after NextWave Pharmaceuticals founder Mahendra Shah saw Pfizer ($PFE) close on its $680 million deal to buy the company, Shah has made a significant start to gathering $30 million for a new biotech company aiming at a big new treatment for lower back pain.

A few days ago Shah, along with Canaan Partners' Brent Ahrens, filed a Form D with the SEC saying that they had raised $6 million of a planned $30 million round for Mountain View, CA-based Semnur Pharmaceuticals. In an interview with MedCity News, Shah said Semnur is prepping for a Phase II study of an injectable, non-opioid pain drug aimed at a blockbuster market.

The company isn't saying much about its plans, though. The Silicon Valley Business Journal managed to get CEO Jaisim Shah, a vet with stints at Roche ($RHHBY) and Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY), to note that there are 5 investors on board so far. Canaan is presumably one of them, along with Frazier Healthcare and Vivo Ventures. Frazier partner James Topper is listed on the Form D along with Vivo's Edgar Engleman.

Vivo also backed NextWave. And with a startup team like this, the odds of completing this venture round look very good.

- here's the Form D
- read the report from MedCity News
- see the story from the Silicon Valley Business Journal