CANTERBURY, England, Nov. 10, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ziarco Group Ltd, a biopharmaceutical company focusing on inflammatory skin diseases, today announced the completion of a $33.1 million Series B financing round. New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA) and Lundbeckfond Ventures co-led the round with new investor Amgen Ventures joining the existing investors BVF Partners L.P. and Pfizer Venture Investments. Ed Mathers, partner at NEA, has joined Ziarco's board of directors as Chairman. Johan Kördel, senior partner at Lundbeckfond Ventures, has also joined the board.
Ziarco plans to use the proceeds from the Series B financing to generate clinical Proof-of-Concept data in patients for its lead compounds – ZPL-389, an oral histamine H4 receptor antagonist, and ZPL-521, a topical cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2) inhibitor, in atopic dermatitis and psoriasis, respectively.
"We are pleased to have completed this Series B financing and view the participation of new and existing investors as validation of our high-quality clinical programs in underserved dermatological diseases, as well as our seasoned management team," said Mike Yeadon, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Ziarco. "The proceeds will enable us to generate clinical Proof-of-Concept for both of our lead compounds and make progress in addressing the substantial unmet medical needs and dissatisfaction with the current care options for patients living with atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. We look forward to advancing ZPL-389 into a Phase 2a study for atopic dermatitis, as well as to initiating a patient study of the topical formulation of ZPL-521 for psoriasis."
"I am delighted to serve as the Chairman of Ziarco's board of directors," said Mr. Mathers. "Ziarco's management team is ideally positioned to advance ZPL-389 and ZPL-521 through the clinic, given their experience with these compounds since discovery and their deep R&D expertise. The interest shown in this oversubscribed round is testament to the team, and the clinical programs."
Dr. Kördel added, "Ziarco's lead compounds are attractive not only because they represent a novel approach to treating two highly prevalent diseases, but also because they have already been validated with significant preclinical and early clinical studies."
About ZPL-389 and ZPL-521
ZPL-389 is a potent and selective histamine H4 receptor antagonist suitable for oral administration. It is one of only two oral H4 antagonists in active clinical development. Ziarco has completed Phase 1 single ascending dose and 14-day multiple ascending dose studies of ZPL-389 in healthy volunteers. ZPL-389 demonstrated an excellent safety and pharmacokinetic profile, the potential for once-daily dosing at a low dose, and complete inhibition of a relevant blood biomarker to confirm H4 specific drug activity. In addition to the strong evidence indicating H4 receptors are important in pruritus, the emerging link of the H4 mechanism to the Th17 pathway suggests ZPL-389 may have clinical utility in multiple chronic, inflammatory conditions.
ZPL-521 is a potential best-in-class topical cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2) inhibitor. Its unique profile includes high potency, slow offset, and rapid systemic clearance. ZPL-521 demonstrated in a Phase 1 single ascending dose study via the inhaled route in healthy volunteers that it is safe and well-tolerated up to high doses.
New Enterprise Associates (NEA) is a global venture capital firm focused on helping entrepreneurs build transformational businesses across multiple stages, sectors and geographies. With more than $13 billion in committed capital, the firm invests in information technology and healthcare companies at all stages in a company's lifecycle, from seed stage through IPO. NEA's long track record of successful investing includes more than 195 portfolio company IPOs and more than 320 acquisitions. For additional information, visit www.nea.com.
About Lundbeckfond Ventures
Lundbeckfond Ventures is a part of the asset management subsidiary of The Lundbeck Foundation which in addition to substantial financial assets has controlling ownerships in H.Lundbeck A/S, ALK-Abelló A/S and Falck A/S. Lundbeckfond Ventures has an evergreen structure and invests around $60 million annually in life science companies. The Lundbeckfond Ventures team is located in Copenhagen, Denmark, and is active in both Europe and USA.
For more information, please refer to: www.lundbeckfondventures.com.
About Amgen Ventures
Amgen Ventures provides emerging biotechnology companies with financial and other resources to develop pioneering discoveries focused on human therapeutics. Since 2004, Amgen Ventures has invested in biotechnology companies to advance promising medicines and technologies that could ultimately make a difference for patients suffering from serious illnesses. Leveraging Amgen's industry leadership, deep knowledge, and longstanding expertise in biotechnology, Amgen Ventures investments are made in areas of strategic focus for the company to support innovation and generate financial return.
For more information, please visit www.amgen.com/partners/amgen_ventures.html.
About BVF Partners L.P.
BVF Partners L.P. is a San Francisco-based private investment firm which invests exclusively in biotechnology companies.
About Pfizer Venture Investments
Pfizer Venture Investments (PVI), the venture capital arm of Pfizer Inc., was founded in 2004 and invests for return in areas of current or future strategic interest to Pfizer. As part of the Worldwide Business Development division, PVI seeks to remain at the forefront of life science advances, looking to identify and invest in emerging companies that are developing compounds and technologies that have the potential to enhance Pfizer's pipeline and shape the future of our industry. For more information, please visit www.pfizerventureinvestments.com.
Ziarco is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing innovative therapeutics targeting inflammatory skin diseases. The company's lead compounds are ZPL-389, an oral histamine H4 receptor antagonist being studied for atopic dermatitis, and ZPL-521, a cPLA2 inhibitor being studied for psoriasis. A clinical Proof-of-Concept study of ZPL-389 is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2015. A patient study of the topical formulation of ZPL-521 for psoriasis is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2016. In addition, the company has a histamine H3 receptor antagonist programme possessing CNS-sparing properties that is in advanced preclinical development for nasal congestion, as well as an early-stage spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) inhibitor programme suitable for topical administration with potential in several inflammatory diseases. Ziarco investors include Biotechnology Value Fund L.P. and other affiliates of BVF Partners L.P., Pfizer Venture Investments, New Enterprise Associates, Lundbeckfond Ventures and Amgen Ventures.
Further information can be found at www.ziarcopharma.com.
Source:Ziarco Group Ltd.