Versartis, Inc., an emerging biotechnology company developing novel therapeutics for patients with endocrine disorders, today announced completion of a $20 million Series D financing led by new investor Sofinnova Ventures. Existing investors Advent Venture Partners' Advent Life Sciences fund, Aisling Capital, Amunix Operating Inc., Index Ventures and New Leaf Venture Partners all participated in this round. As a result of their investment, General Partner Srinivas Akkaraju, MD, PhD, will represent Sofinnova on the Versartis Board of Directors. The proceeds from this financing will primarily be used to prepare for an international Phase 3 pediatric trial of VRS-317, the company's proprietary long-acting recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) for the treatment of growth hormone deficiency (GHD). This financing round brings the company's total venture capital raised in 2013 to $45 million.
Dr. Akkaraju said, "The Versartis team has consistently generated groundbreaking data for their up to once-monthly treatment for patients with growth hormone deficiency, which clearly differentiates it from other attempts at a long-acting growth hormone. Sofinnova is pleased to have the opportunity to invest in Versartis at this time and to support the company's progression as an exciting late-stage opportunity."
The company's VERTICAL study of VRS-317 in pre-pubertal children with growth hormone deficiency (GHD) is currently being conducted in approximately 30 sites in the United States and was initiated following the successful results of a Phase 1 study in adults with GHD. The Phase 1b/2a VERTICAL study is designed in two stages: the first stage (Phase 1b) utilized a single ascending-dose design to evaluate the safety and tolerability of six dosing levels of a subcutaneous (SC) dose of VRS-317. The second stage (Phase 2a) was initiated last month and will further study these patients to determine the efficacy of VRS-317 as defined by an increase in height velocity over three and six months of treatment.
"We remain on track to complete the Phase 2a portion of our ongoing pediatric trial of VRS-317 as planned to enable initiation of our Phase 3 trial in 2014," stated Versartis Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey L. Cleland, PhD. "These latest funds represent important validation of our recently presented Phase 1b results in pediatric patients and provide us with additional resources to continue our positive momentum as a leader in long-acting growth hormone therapy."
PLEASE NOTE: Dr. Cleland will present a company update at The 12th Annual BIO Investor Forum in San Francisco at noon on Wednesday, October 9.