Kezar Life Sciences, a South San Francisco, CA-based company focused on the discovery and development of drugs targeting protein homeostasis for autoimmune disorders, completed a $23m Series A financing.
Backers included Morningside Venture, Cormorant Asset Management, EcoR1 Capital, 9W Capital Management, Omega Funds, Aju IB Investment, and private investors. In connection with the financing, Amgen subsidiary Onyx Pharmaceuticals is licensing intellectual property related to its immunoproteasome program to Kezar, and will have a minority equity interest in the company.
The capital will be used to advance Kezar’s lead immunoproteasome inhibitor candidate into Phase 1a and 1b clinical trials, with the goal of demonstrating safety and efficacy in patients with autoimmune disease. Kezar also intends to advance drug discovery programs targeting protein secretion.
The company was founded in 2015 by John Fowler, CEO, and Dr. Christopher Kirk, Ph.D, CSO.