Atara Biotherapy, Inc. , a drug development company focusing on innovative therapies for patients with debilitating diseases, today announced that it has secured $38. Initial closings of 5 million under Series B financing In this round, investors Amgen Ventures (Nasdaq: AMGN), Celgene Corporation (Nasdaq: CELG) and EcoR1 Capital have joined existing investors Alexandria Venture Investments, DAG Ventures, Domain Associates, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
The proceeds will be used to accelerate the clinical development of Atara’s two lead programs, PINTA 745 and STM 434, which are expected to generate new clinical data in the next 18 months.
‘We founded Atara with the aim of accelerating the development of novel biologic compounds in order to bring significant therapeutic advances to the conditions underpinned by innovation in recent years,’ said Isaac Ciechanover, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Atara. ‘This funding allows us to advance our pipeline and move us closer to achieving our mission of addressing major unmet medical needs. ”
Within 15 months of its founding, the Atara team initiated a Phase 2 pilot study of PINTA 745, peptibody inhibiting myostatin, which was investigated as a potential treatment for protein energy wasting (PEW), inflammation, malnutrition and muscle wasting in patients with end-stage renal disease. PEW is a condition that correlates with adverse reactions and increased mortality in patients with chronic renal disease receiving dialysis. This condition affects a significant proportion of the 400,000 patients in the US who are treated with dialysis every year. The objective of this Phase 2 trial is to assess the potential effects of PINTA 745 on lean body mass, physical function, quality of life and other outcomes for these patients.
In addition, the Atara team plans to submit an investigational new drug (IND) application to the US Food and Drug Administration to conduct a first-in-human Phase 1 study of STM 434, an activin inhibitor. STM 434 is a novel, targeted approach to the treatment of ovarian cancer and other solid tumors. Considered the deadliest cancer in women, ovarian cancer kills approximately 125,000 worldwide every year. Pre-clinical data with Atara activin inhibitors suggest an anti-tumor effect as a single agent and additive benefit in combination with chemotherapy.
In conjunction with the financing, Atara announced the appointment of Joel Marcus, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Alexandria Real Estate Equity, Inc. (NYSE: ARE)/Alexandria Venture Investments in the board of directors of the Atara family of companies
‘Atara has moved quickly to build a pipeline of innovative, targeted therapies designed to address the underlying mechanisms of disease, and disease states for which there are currently few therapeutic options,’ said Mr. Markus ‘The company has used a strategic business structure that provides value creation options. I am honored to join the board and the world-class team that Isaac has assembled. ”
The funding described above relates to three biotechnology entities-Nina Biotherapeutics, Inc. , Pinta Biotherapy, Inc. Santa Maria Biotherapeutics, Inc. -The Atara family of companies Atara’s unique structure was designed to help allow investors to retain options and maximize potential value creation. Atara has raised more than $58 million for this family of companies to date.
About Atara Biotherapy
Atara Biotherapy, Inc. It is a privately held drug development company with a focus on innovative therapy for patients with debilitating diseases. Research by Atara and its family of companies is based on groundbreaking findings on the ability of activin, myostatin and other biological targets to change the course of disease progression. Atara has three novel biologics in development, including PINTA 745 (Phase 2) for protein energy waste in end-stage renal disease, STM 434 (IND-ready) for ovarian and other solid tumors, and NINA 842 (pre-clinical) for cancer-related cachexia. In 2012, Atara and its family of companies were launched by a proven team of drug developers, Amgen, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. For more information, please visit