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BridgeBio Bags $135M For “Hub and Spoke” Rare Disease Drug R&D

Xconomy San Francisco — 

Thousands of diseases have been traced to genetic origins, but the vast majority have no treatment at all. BridgeBio wants to reduce that unmet need with an unusual model for developing drugs to treat rare genetic diseases, and it now has $135 million in new funding.

Palo Alto, CA-based BridgeBio says new investor Viking Global teamed with an earlier investor, private equity firm KKR, to lead the round.

Formed in 2015, BridgeBio largely kept under wraps until early this year, when it emerged with what it calls a “hub and spoke” corporate structure. The company houses each drug program in its own subsidiary, and all share the central resources of the parent company. BridgeBio now says it has a pipeline of 10 drugs in various stages of development for rare diseases in cancer, cardiology, dermatology, neurology, and endocrinology.

Subsidiaries include Eidos Therapeutics, a Palo Alto company launched in April to develop a treatment for transthyretin amyloidosis, a fatal heart disease. BridgeBio has committed $27 million toward development of Eidos’ lead compound. Other BridgeBio programs include Menlo Park, CA-based PellePharm, whose lead drug is in mid-stage clinical trials in basal cell carcinoma. In July, BridgeBio led a third closing of PellePharm’s $20 million Series B financing round. Another BridgeBio company, Phoenix Tissue Repair, is developing a treatment for dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, a rare skin disease that has no FDA-approved treatment.

BridgeBio says it will use the new cash to support current drug programs and start new ones. The financing included earlier investor Perceptive Advisors, as well as new investors AIG, Aisling Capital, Cormorant Capital, and Janus Funds.

Photo by Flickr user Jeffrey Davis via a Creative Commons license.