Kezar Life Sciences, a South San Francisco, Calif.-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel small molecule therapeutics targeting the immunoproteasome and the protein secretion pathway, closed a $50m Series B funding.
The round was led by Cormorant Asset Management and Morningside Venture, with participation from new investors Cowen Healthcare Investments, Pappas Ventures, Qiming Venture Partners and Bay City Capital, and existing investors EcoR1 Capital, Omega Funds, and Aju IB Investment. As a part of the round, Bihua Chen, the Founder of Cormorant Asset Management, will join the Kezar Life Sciences Board of Directors.
The company, which has now raised a total of $73m since its inception in 2015, intends to use the funds to continue to develop KZR-616, an immunoproteasome inhibitor, and advance discovery program targeting the protein secretion pathway.
Led by John Fowler, CEO, and Christopher Kirk PhD, President and CSO, Kezar Life Sciences develops novel small molecule therapeutics to treat autoimmune disorders and malignant diseases. Its lead drug candidate, KZR-616, leverages more than a decade of research directed by Kirk into the unique role of the immunoproteasome in immune cell biology. In addition, the company is pursuing drug discovery programs targeting protein secretion and transmembrane protein expression that include a structured research collaboration with UC San Francisco.