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Start-up: Pfizer funds ex-workers
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Start-up: Pfizer funds ex-workers

06.11.2012 - Ziarco has raised €21.1m in a series A financing round. The start-up from four former Pfizer colleagues gets the money from their former employer.

Ziarco Pharma Ltd. from Canterbury secured €21.1m (GBP16.8m) in a series A financing round. Investors are US venture fund Biotechnology Value Fund L.P. and other affiliates of BVF Partners L.P. (“BVF”) as well as Pfizer Venture Investments (“PVI”). Ziarco is a new clinical-stage biotechnology company founded by President and CEO Mike Yeadon, a former Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Pfizer’s Allergy and Respiratory Research Unit in Sandwich. Together with three former Pfizer colleagues, he directs the start-up which aims to develop innovative therapeutics targeting inflammatory and allergic diseases. One of the peers, CSO Steve Liu, claims that the most advanced clinical programme, ZPL-3893787 – a histamine H4 receptor (H4R) antagonist – could potentially be used to treat several major diseases, including asthma, allergic rhinitis, pain and a variety of inflammatory skin conditions. This programme is included in a deal made by Ziarco and Pfizer Inc. that promises the start-up exclusive worldwide rights to commercialise a range of clinical, preclinical and research assets. In return, Pfizer will receive equity as well as certain product-based milestone and royalty payments.

The lead compound of the H4R antagonist programme has completed a Phase I multiple ascending dose study. Other programmes in various stages of development include a clinical stage cytosolic phosholipase A2 (cPLA2) inhibitor, histamine H3 receptor antagonists possessing CNS-sparing properties as well as early-stage spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) inhibitor molecules suitable for topical administration.

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