True North adds crossover investors in its $40M Series C

True North CEO Nancy Stagliano

True North CEO Nancy Stagliano is keeping the company on a fast track. Just 8 months after raising a $35 million B round, the South San Francisco-based biotech has come back with an added $40 million draw, adding a new group of investors--including some crossovers--as the company moves further ahead in the clinic with its lead drug.

Stagliano, who spun True North out of the reorganized and redirected iPierian before selling the mother ship to Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) in a $725 million deal, has now raised a total of $97 million for the rare disease drug developer. And she's keeping a weathered eye on the IPO window as it comes time to consider next steps.

True North's lead antibody--TNT009--tackles the body's "classical complement" pathway, which plays a big role in the immune system response to pathogens. The company believes that blocking C1s, a serine protease within the complement pathway of the immune system, can prevent antibody-mediated rejection in kidney transplant and rare hematologic diseases, such as cold agglutinin disease, an autoimmune condition that blasts red blood cells, leading to anemia and possibly thrombosis, which can be fatal.

The company has completed an early study segment for TNT009 involving healthy volunteers, which should be publicly reviewed soon, with an eye to launching a registration study for the drug in 2017. 

"We've been raising a good amount of money to support this program and this (round) is a signal we've been making progress," Stagliano tells FierceBiotech. The latest group of VC backers would appear to agree with that assessment.

The Series C round was led by New Leaf Venture Partners with Perceptive Advisors and Cowen Private Investments also joining the syndicate for the first time. Existing investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, MPM Capital, OrbiMed, SR One (GlaxoSmithKline), and Baxalta Ventures also jumped in. And Isaac Manke, a partner at New Leaf Venture Partners, will join the board.

Stagliano has been keeping the possibility of filing an IPO on the table, though the current state of Nasdaq has been shaky for new offerings. "We're not taking anything off the table," she adds, noting that clinical evidence of success will likely further bolster the well financed biotech.

True North has been running lean and mean, with a staff of 17. And Stagliano plans to keep things relatively small for now.

- here's the release

Special Report: Top women in biotech 2013 - Nancy Stagliano