Tricida Grabs $30M Series B for Chronic Kidney Disease Treatment

Xconomy San Francisco — 

Drug developer Tricida said Wednesday that investors have pledged $30 million in Series B funding to push forward its effort to join the crowded market for chronic kidney disease treatments. The company has one potential advantage: Its founders have been there before.

The South San Francisco, CA-based company’s lead drug, TRC 101, is meant to treat degradation from chronic kidney disease by resolving the imbalance of electrolytes such as phosphate, potassium, and sodium. Kidneys maintain concentrations of electrolytes in the body, and an imbalance of electrolytes can lead to disorders in the kidneys and other organs, according to Merck Manuals.

Tricida will ask FDA’s permission later this year to begin testing TRC 101 in humans, the company said in a statement.

The management team has developed two other drugs at different companies that are either on the market in other countries or in late-stage clinical trials. Tricida president and CEO Gerrit Klaerner cofounded Ilypsa, which developed a treatment for hyperphosphatemia in patients on dialysis with chronic kidney disease. That drug’s Japanese rights were licensed to Astellas Pharma in 2006, before Ilypsa sold to Amgen in 2007 for $420 million in cash. The drug, Kiklin, became available in Japan in 2012.

Klaerner’s second company, Relypsa (NASDAQ: RLYP), went public in 2013 and the FDA is considering whether to approve its treatment called Patiromer for hyperkalemia, a condition that causes abnormally high levels of potassium in the blood, according to the Mayo Clinic. Klaerner left his role as president in 2013.

Several companies including Vascular Pharmaceuticals, Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:[[KERX]]), and the Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) subsidiary Genzyme have developed or are developing some sort of treatment related to kidney disease. Genzyme has the two market-leading phosphate binders Renagel and Renvela.

Tricida’s $30 million financing was led by OrbiMed Advisors, with participation by Sibling Capital Ventures and Limulus Venture Partners. All three provided a $10 million Series A round in 2014, and Sibling Capital gave Tricida seed funding for preclinical activities and market validation studies, Tricida said.