Taris Bio Taps Third Rock Ventures and Previous Backers in $18.3M Financing Round

4/13/11

Taris Biomedical, an MIT spinout focused on treating bladder diseases, has brought on Third Rock Ventures as its new investor and lead backer in an $18.3 million Series B round of financing. Sarma Duddu, CEO of Lexington, MA-based Taris, says that the funding will be used to advance the company’s lead treatment, which holds the promise to be used for a variety of bladder ailments, into clinical mid-stage trials designed to show whether it works in humans.

Boston-based Third Rock—which made headlines earlier this week by leading a $40 million investment in Blueprint Medicines, Cambridge, MA, cancer drug developer—joined previous Taris backers Flagship Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners, and Polaris Venture Partners in this round. Cary Pfeffer, a partner at Third Rock and former Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB) executive, has taken a seat on Taris’s board in connection with the financing. Taris, which was co-founded by MIT materials science and biotech inventors Michael Cima and Bob Langer, previously raised $15 million in a Series A round in 2008.

“We’re exciting about Third Rock because they have a track record of investing in highly focused, product-driven companies,” Duddu says. “What is particularly interesting is the way they bring in their own development expertise.” He added that Third Rock partners and co-founders Mark Levin, Kevin Starr, and Robert Tepper—a trio who previously held the CEO, COO, and R&D president titles, respectively, at Millennium Pharmaceuticals—bring a lot of experience in building companies.

Taris is getting a financial boost from its VCs at a key time in the young company’s history. In March the company said it began Phase Ib clinical testing for the lead use of its drug-delivery device for treating interstitial cystitis, also known as painful bladder syndrome. The study will show whether its treatment, which involves putting the device in the bladder and leaving it there for two weeks to continuously deliver a common anesthetic called … Next Page »

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