TARIS Biomedical LLC, a company using proprietary delivery technology and deep expertise in bladder biology to develop novel treatments for urologic diseases, announced today it has relaunched with a $32 million financing led by Flagship Ventures with participation from return investor Polaris Venture Partners and new investor RA Capital Management.
Last year, the company sold its lead clinical program to Allergan Inc. in a transaction worth up to $587.5 million, including up-front payment, development and commercial milestones. TARIS will use the proceeds from this current financing to advance an exciting new pipeline that targets a range of high unmet need bladder diseases, initially focusing on bladder cancer and overactive bladder segments.
“The sale to Allergan of our clinical-stage treatment for interstitial cystitis in 2014 was an important validation of our revolutionary approach to treating bladder diseases,” said Purnanand Sarma, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of TARIS. “Since then we have been working hard to build a high value therapeutically-focused urology company on this foundation. This new funding will enable us to launch multiple clinical trials over the next 12 months and further expand our team.”
Ed Kania, Managing Partner of Flagship Ventures and board member of TARIS said, “TARIS combines the experience and success of an established company with the agility and sense of mission of a startup. We are pleased to join existing and new finance partners as we help TARIS advance its technology to help millions of patients who suffer from bladder diseases.”
Flagship and Polaris have been investors in TARIS since its inception and, with this financing, RA Capital has joined as a new member of the syndicate.
Unlike existing bladder disease treatments, TARIS’ drug-device combination approach localizes drug treatment to the bladder and enables continuous drug exposure over weeks to months, with the potential to markedly increase efficacy and minimize systemic side effects. TARIS’ co-founders include famed MIT scientist and serial entrepreneur Robert Langer Sc.D. and MIT scientist Michael Cima Ph.D., both of whom continue to serve on the company’s board.
To support its rapid growth, TARIS has added Christopher Cutie, M.D., to its senior leadership team as Vice President of Clinical Development, adding to the company’s strong expertise in bladder diseases and drug-device combinations. Dr. Cutie, in addition to over 10 years of experience at Massachusetts General Hospital as a urologic oncologist, also serves as a Global Medical Advisor for Tokai Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and before that, as a physician in residence at Algeta ASA (now Bayer AG). He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and holds an MD degree from Yale University School of Medicine and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.
TARIS has also strengthened its board of directors, adding two senior executives who each bring more than 20 years of commercial and management experience in the life sciences industry to the company. Kevin Finney was most recently Vice President and head of Corporate Development at Allergan Inc. He previously held executive management roles at Prometheus Laboratories Inc. (acquired by Nestle Health Science in 2011), Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. (acquired by Bristol-Meyers Squibb in 2012) and Parke-Davis division of Warner-Lambert (acquired by Pfizer).
Mark Iwicki served most recently as President and Chief Executive Officer at Civitas Therapeutics (acquired by Acorda). Prior to Civitas, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer at Blend Therapeutics and was President and Chief Executive Officer of Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (formerly Sepracor Inc.). Earlier in his career, Mr. Iwicki was a Senior Vice President and business unit head for multiple therapeutic areas at Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
Other TARIS board members include Purnanand Sarma, Ph.D; Ed Kania of Flagship Ventures; Dennis Ausiello, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital, and Kevin Bitterman, of Polaris Venture Partners. Rajeev Shah of RA Capital joined as a board observer.