Hydra Biosciences Feeling No Pain, Thanks to $34 Million From Advanced Technology Ventures And Others

Cambridge, MA-based Hydra Biosciences has closed a $34 million Series C funding round, the company said today. The round, led by Advanced Technology Ventures and joined by Polaris Venture Partners, BioVentures Investors, Abingworth, Lilly Ventures, and New Enterprise Associates, brings the firm’s total raised to date to over $63 million.

Hydra was founded in 2001 by a group including Harvard Medical School professors David Clapham and Mark Keating. Until recently, says business development manager Tina Starr, the company had a dual focus on regenerative medicine and drugs that target ion channels—molecules that have been tied to a diverse set of disorders including cystic fibrosis, gastrointestinal ailments, hypertension, and pain. But about a year ago, the company shifted its focus entirely to the ion-channel work, Starr says. And last July, Hydra inked a deal with Pfizer worth up to $195 million to develop pain treatments based on the startup’s work on an ion channel called TRPV3 (pronounced “trip V3”). Many drug companies are currently pursuing drugs targeted at TRP channels, Starr says, but Hydra is working on its own, undisclosed set of TRP targets, including TRPV3.

The lead candidates in Hydra’s pipeline are a couple of drugs targeted at TRPV3. With the new round of funding, says Starr, the company is focusing on “advancing our candidates as quickly as possible into the clinic.”

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