Lithera Raises Additional $8M for Injectable Drug to Melt Belly Fat

Xconomy San Diego — 

San Diego-based Lithera says it has secured an additional $8 million to close its Series C round of financing that began more than a year ago. The aesthetic biotech, founded in 2007, has been advancing FDA-registered drugs already approved for use in other indications. Lithera’s lead drug is intended for use as an injectable drug for reducing belly fat.

The company said last year that it expected to extend the second tranche of the round and might raise as much as $25 million. Instead, Lithera says total capital raised in the round was $35.6 million. Existing investors Alta Partners and Domain Associates participated in the round, as well as a new investor AKS Capital and additional undisclosed investors.

Lithera plans to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes and working capital, primarily to support efforts to advance its lead product candidate, an injectable version of salmeterol xinafoate. At the end of September, the company said it achieved positive results in a mid-stage study of the drug, designated LIPO-202 in localized reduction of fat tissue. Salmeterol already is used as an aerosol inhalant for treating asthma (marketed as Serevent).

CEO George Mahaffey says the funding reflects the investors’ continued confidence in the company. In a statement, Mahaffey says, “LIPO-202 has the potential to be the first and only injectable drug treatment for the targeted, non-ablative reduction of subcutaneous abdominal fat.”

Lithera also has been developing a related drug to treat exophthalmos, a condition caused by an overactive thyroid in which swelling behind the eye causes the eyeball to bulge from its socket.