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April 16, 2009

VC Firms, Interwest Partners, ARCH Venture Partners, Clarus Ventures, and EDF Ventures Invest $36 Million in Series A Funding for Lycera

Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Lycera Corporation is a company that develops small molecule pharmaceuticals for treating autoimmune diseases rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.  Lycera is a developer of small-molecule immunomodulators to treat autoimmune diseases, such as psoriasis, lupus and transplant rejection.   Lycera is a spin off from the University of Michigan and its founder is Dr. Gary Glick.   Currently, Lycera has received its first $10 million in a tranche funding and will receive the rest of the funding in two more tranches as milestones in the company’s new product development are met.  

Along with the funding, Lycera will bring Dr. Jeffry Leiden, M.D., Ph.D., managing directors at Clarus Ventures; Kristina Burow, partner with ARCH Venture Partners; and Nina Kjellson, a general partner with Interwest Partners onto the company’s board of directors.  To further the attraction of Lycera to its investors, the company has also announced that it plans to expand its development of small-molecule immunomodulators by adding a program that the candidate drugs would target the Th17 pathway that was discovered by Dr. Dan Littman, M.D., Ph.D.   

According to Dr. Glick, the financing is a significant validation of Lycera’s technological platforms.  Lycera is very fortunate to have a partnership with investors who are experienced in the field and are also a group of very talented and distinguished group of people.  The company’s investors’ expertise in the development of drugs to fight autoimmune diseases and their track record at building high-class companies is extremely valuable for Lycera. 

Founded in 1979, Interwest Partners is a vc firm that is focused on building long term relationships with entrepreneurs and portfolio companies.   Interwest is currently in its tenth fund which is worth over $650 million and has in general so far raised over $2.8 billion in capital since its founding.   Interwest Partners is based in Menlo Park, California and has an office in Dallas, Texas as well.  Interwest Partners mainly invests in the life sciences and IT industries.

ARCH Venture Partners is a vc firm that mainly likes to invest in seed and early stage capital for technology companies and has an extraordinary competence in co-investing in building new startup companies in the tech industry.   ARCH Venture Partners mainly works together with scientists and entrepreneurs who focus mainly in life sciences, physical sciences, and information technology.  ARCH manages seven funds that total over $1.5 billion and has invested in over 150 different companies.

Clarus Ventures is a vc firm that focuses primarily on the life sciences and specifically likes to invest in biopharmaceuticals and medical technology companies.  Clarus has deep and diverse expertise in the research, development and commercialization of new products.  Clarus Venture partners has $1.2 billion under its management and is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts with a second office in South San Francisco, California.

EDF Ventures is a vc firm that provides capital and assistance to diligent entrepreneurs who have a proprietary technology and are eager to build a unique company that can meet the needs in its industry sector.  EDF mainly likes to invest in the healthcare industry.   EDF Ventures is based in Michigan, but invests throughout the United States and is proud to be able to attract leading syndicated investors in the healthcare industry.  EDF has three funds that total about $175 million under its management.

For more information on Lycera, click here.