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Cidara’s $42M Series B May Bring Fungal Therapy to Patients

Xconomy San Diego — 

Cidara Therapeutics grabbed $42 million in a Series B funding round Wednesday to continue developing its treatment for fungal infections, a therapy that it expects will hit the first stage of clinical trials later this year.

The treatment, called biafungin, is attempting to infiltrate a $3.7 billion market worldwide that hasn’t seen a new class of antifungal drugs in over a decade, the company says. Fungal infections can be deadly for people with weakened immune systems, such as patients undergoing transplants, chemotherapy or those with AIDS, Cidara says.

Cidara believes it may be possible to administer biafungin less frequently than other existing treatments, through intravenous therapy once a week, instead of once daily. The company also plans to examine whether biafungin can treat fungal infections that have developed resistance to similar drugs.

Cidara wants to submit an investigational new drug application (IND) and begin Phase 1 trials later this year. The company is also working on a topical formulation of the treatment, topifungin, that it hopes to submit an IND for and start a Phase 1b/2 trial on later in 2015.

The San Diego biotech received $32 million of Series A funding in June 2014, after it renamed itself to Cidara from K2 Therapeutics and hired Jeffrey Stein as its CEO. Stein made a name for himself as the CEO of Trius Therapeutics, which was sold in 2013 to Cubist Pharmaceuticals for $818 million (a total that includes royalty payments).

The Series A financing came from 5AM Ventures, Aisling Capital, Frazier Healthcare, InterWest Partners, and other unnamed investors. Cidara declined to name who the Series B money came from, other than to say there were new and existing investors involved.

Cidara also has an immunotherapy platform that is in developmental stages called Cloudbreak. It targets fungal, bacterial, and viral infections, according to the company.