Versartis, an emerging biotechnology company focused on endocrine disorders, has completed a $25 million Series C financing lead by new investor Aisling Capital. The primary use of the proceeds will be to fund clinical trials of its lead product, VRS-317, for growth hormone deficiency (GHD) in pediatric patients. VRS-317 is a proprietary once monthly form of recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH).
With their investment, Aisling Capital partner Anthony Sun, MD, has joined the Versartis board of directors. Also participating in this round were existing investors Index Ventures, New Leaf Venture Partners and Advent Venture Partners' Advent Life Sciences fund.
"We are very excited to participate in this financing, because VRS-317 has demonstrated tremendous potential as a long-acting form of growth hormone treatment,” said Sun. “We are also pleased to join the existing investors and experienced management team to further develop VRS-317 to address key unmet needs in the treatment of patients with growth hormone deficiency."
In October 2012 the company began its first pediatric clinical trial of VRS-317 in pre-pubertal children with Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD). The Versartis Trial In Children to Assess Long-Acting Growth Hormone (VERTICAL) study is being conducted in approximately 30 sites in the U.S. and was initiated following the successful completion of a phase I study in adults with GHD. The VERTICAL study is designed in two stages: the first stage (phase Ib) utilizes an ascending-dose design to evaluate the safety and tolerability of up-to-four dosing levels of a single subcutaneous (SC) dose of VRS-317. The second stage (phase IIa) will further study these patients to determine the efficacy of VRS-317 as defined by an increase in height velocity over six months of treatment.
"With this substantial funding we are able to continue our comprehensive development program for VRS-317, including obtaining proof-of-concept efficacy results and preparing for the launch of a phase III trial in 2014,” said Jeffrey L. Cleland, PhD, CEO of Versartis.