Kezar Raises $50M to Support Development of KZR-616 for Autoimmune Diseases

Kezar Raises $50M to Support Development of KZR-616 for Autoimmune Diseases
Kezar Life Sciences raised $50 million in a financing round to support further clinical development of its lead drug candidate KZR-616 for the treatment of several autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, including Crohn's disease. The announcement comes on the heels of the successful completion of Kezar’s Phase 1a trial in Australia (ACTRN12616001040459) in healthy volunteers to evaluate the safety and tolerability of KZR-616. "We are pleased with the results of our healthy volunteer study, and grateful for the support of such an excellent group of investors to finance our upcoming clinical trials," John Fowler, CEO of Kezar Life Sciences, said in a recent press release. "The strong demand for this financing reflects growing excitement for the potential of immunoproteasome inhibition in treating autoimmune disorders and recognizes the clear leadership position enjoyed by Kezar," he added. KZR-616 is a small molecule that was designed to selectively inhibit the activity of the immunoproteasome, and by doing so modulate the activity of different immune T-cell subsets. KZR-616 can potentially block the activity of T-cells involved in autoimmunity, and at the same time restore the balance of regulatory T-cells in autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that selective immunoproteasome inhibitors such as KZR-616 have low toxicity, are well tolerated, and are highly active in experimental animal models of rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, and lupus. "We believe that the immunoproteasome is a profoundly untapped area of translational medicine. Our scientific research has shown that selective inhibitors of the immunoproteasome have the potential to reset normal immune function in patients with com
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