Relypsa Inc., a Santa Clara, Calif.-based developer of polymeric drugs has raised $33 million in Series A funding. 5AM Ventures and New Leaf Partners co-led the deal, and were joined by Sprout Group, Delphi Ventures, CMEA Ventures and Mediphase Venture Partners. Replypsa is a spinout of Ilypsa, which had raised venture capital from many of the same firms before being acquired by Amgen for $420 million in July.
Relypsa, Inc., a privately-held biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing novel polymeric drugs, today announced its formation and the closing of a $33 million Series A financing, led by 5AM Ventures and New Leaf Venture Partners with participation from the Sprout Group, Delphi Ventures, CMEA Ventures and Mediphase Venture Partners.
The new company is a spin-out of Ilypsa, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amgen (Ilypsa was acquired by Amgen in July 2007 for approximately $420 million). Relypsa commences operations with rights to a proprietary drug discovery platform and a pipeline of product candidates including a potassium binder drug candidate for the treatment of hyperkalemia that is anticipated to enter clinical testing in early 2008.
Relypsa reunites experienced investors with a seasoned management team, while providing a new employment opportunity for 38 former Ilypsa employees. Relypsa will focus on the discovery and development of novel, first-in-class, non-absorbed polymeric medicines for the treatment of a range of illnesses, including cardiovascular and renal diseases.
Leading the new company’s efforts will be Jay Shepard, Chief Executive Officer, Gerrit Klaerner, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer, Detlef Albrecht, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Jerry Buysse, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, all formerly of Ilypsa, Inc. In conjunction with the Series A financing, Scott Rocklage, Ph.D., Managing Partner of 5AM Ventures, will head the company’s Board of Directors as Executive Chairman. Also joining the Relypsa Board will be Vijay Lathi, Managing Director, New Leaf Venture Partners, Deepa Pakianathan, Ph.D., General Partner of Delphi Ventures, Jay Shepard and Jay Hagan of Amgen Ventures. Amgen will maintain a minority equity stake in the new venture, as well as certain rights related to the transferred programs.
“I am thrilled that we were able to work closely together with Amgen to formulate this exciting venture in time to keep the team together and the Ilypsa momentum going,” said Dr. Rocklage. “Relypsa will combine the same elements that enabled the prior success of Ilypsa, that is: condensed timelines, capital efficiency and clearly defined product endpoints.
“With a proven team and technology squarely in place, the funds from the Series A will enable us to advance our lead candidates into the clinic, while also working to discover new compounds,” said Mr. Shepard.
“Amgen is pleased to help provide the opportunity for experienced scientists to pursue the promising, early stage polymeric research programs that they originated at Ilypsa,” said Amgen’s Roger M. Perlmutter, Executive Vice President, Research and Development. “Transferring these programs to Relypsa is the most efficient way to ensure that these innovative therapeutics reach the patients who need them.”
“Amgen will continue to focus as planned on development of ILY 101 (now known as AMG 223), the polymeric phosphate binder for the treatment of hyperphosphatemia in chronic kidney disease obtained through the acquisition of Ilpysa,” Perlmutter said. “In addition, Amgen’s minority equity position and related rights provide Amgen with a stake in the success of the new company.”
About Relypsa, Inc.
Relypsa, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company leading the discovery and development of new non-absorbed polymeric drugs for important applications in renal and cardiovascular disease. The company’s most advanced therapeutic programs include a novel potassium binder for treatment of hyperkalemia, known as ILY-105, as well as a novel sodium binder, ILY102, for the potential treatment of congestive heart failure. Relypsa is dedicated to discover additional product candidates through use of its proprietary polymer platform.