Zafgen, a pharmaceutical company, announced the closing of a $33 million Series C financing led by the existing investor syndicate, including Atlas Venture and Third Rock Ventures. The financing will be used to support development of Zafgen's pipeline and to advance its lead methionine aminopeptidase 2 (MetAP2) inhibitor for the treatment of severe obesity into phase II clinical studies.
"This Series C funding provides further validation of the promise of MetAP2 inhibitor treatment as a pharmacological alternative to bariatric surgery in the treatment of severe obesity and is a testament to the progress we have made in advancing our drug development efforts," said Thomas Hughes, Ph.D., president and CEO of Zafgen.
Research continues to show that obese and lean individuals metabolize fat differently. Studies indicate that once a person becomes obese, the body undergoes certain metabolic changes and is "programmed" to make and store more fat.
"Zafgen has a unique approach to tackling obesity by targeting imbalances in fat metabolism through MetAP2 inhibition. The company's recent phase Ib study results showed that, in addition to rapid weight loss averaging 1kg per week, a significant improvement in cardiovascular risk markers was seen in severely obese subjects. These results further demonstrate that Zafgen has the potential to bring to market a promising new drug for the treatment of severe obesity,” said Kevin Starr, partner in Third Rock Ventures.