Rhythm Pharma Gets $21M A Round to Target Obesity, Diabetes

3/15/10

The potential riches for makers of obesity and diabetes treatments are irresistible to biotech entrepreneurs and investors. Rhythm Pharmaceuticals, a drug developer focused on these multibillion-dollar markets, has closed a $21 million Series A round of funding, according to the firm.

Rhythm has been quietly incubating at the Boston offices of MPM Capital. Then on Friday, the startup made some news when it revealed an exclusive licensing deal with the rising French biotech power Ipsen, which is supplying Rhythm with molecules based on two hormones that play roles in regulating metabolic functions. Paris-based Ipsen is a fast-growing biotech that pulled in about $1.4 billion in revenue last year.

Rhythm president and co-founder Bart Henderson, who was previously an entrepreneur-in-residence at MPM, tells Xconomy that the Ipsen molecules, or peptides, compose the entirety of his young startup’s pipeline. The first-round financing, led by MPM and the venture firm New Enterprise Associates, will fund the firm’s first two clinical trials slated to begin this year and in 2011. Ipsen owns a 17-percent stake in Rhythm, and has a seat on the startup’s board of directors.

Henderson says he was familiar with the technology from Paris-based Ipsen from his tenure as chief dealmaker for Cambridge, MA-based … Next Page »

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