Protagonist Therapeutics, Inc., a company that specializes in advancing novel, orally-stable peptide treatments for gastrointestinal diseases and disorders, has just closed a $40 million Series C financing. The investment will fund continued advancement of the company’s experimental therapy PTG-100 for Inflammatory Bowel Disorder.
“We are pleased with the strong support received from a broad cross section of high quality investors in this financing, which has allowed us to create a well-balanced syndicate and will enable us to advance our key programs into the clinic,” said Dinesh Patel, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Protagonist. “This event highlights the evolution of Protagonist’s technology platform as its assets progress from discovery to clinical development, as exemplified by our first oral peptide drug candidate PTG-100.”
As part of the financing, the company also welcomed Julie Papanek of Canaan Partners to its board of directors. “IBD and other chronic gastrointestinal diseases and disorders represent areas of growing and unmet medical need, where oral targeted therapy drugs could offer significant advantages and differentiation over injectable biologics,” said Papanek. “Protagonist’s proprietary technology platform has enabled the company to build a significant pipeline of drug candidates that are well differentiated against both small molecule and biologics therapies.”
Investor funding will be utilized to advance PTG-100 into human clinical trials as a potential orally available treatment for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The funds will also be used in part to develop Protagonist’s other oral peptide drug candidates. PTG-100 is an orally stable peptide drug that works by targeting and blocking alpha-4-beta-7 integrin, a clinically proven target for IBD. The company plans to launch Phase 1 clinical testing of the drug by the end of the year, and advance it to Phase 1/2 studies in IBD patients in 2016.
In a recent press release, the company recognized new investors Adage Capital Management, RA Capital Management, and Foresite Capital, with Canaan Partners in the lead of this latest tranche of funding. Protagonist also notes all of its previously-signed investors have renewed their agreements with the company, namely, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Lilly Ventures, Pharmstandard International, S.A, and Starfish Ventures, who also joined in the financing round.