Start of Phase I trials with topical IL-1 antagonist against dry eye syndrome is expected this year.

Eleven Biotherapeutics secured $20 million from new and existing investors in an extension to its Series A financing, which takes the total raised to $45 million. JAFCO joined the fundraising round as new investor together with financial input from existing investors Third Rock Ventures and Flagship Ventures.

Eleven Bio will use the funds to progress its initial protein therapeutic candidate EBI-005 into clinical development as a topical treatment for surface of the eye diseases as well as progress its earlier-stage pipeline. Initial clinical development of the interleukin-1 receptor antagonist is expected to start during 2012 for the treatment of dry eye syndrome. The firm cialms EBI-005 is the first rationally designed IL-1 receptor inhibitor for topical administration to be optimized for the treatment of dry eye disease and other ocular surface inflammatory disorders.

 “This financing provides us with a strong financial foundation and firmly validates our investors’ enthusiasm for Eleven’s ability to develop novel, best-in-class protein therapeutics,” comments CEO Abbie Celniker, Ph.D.

Eleven is exploiting its AMP-Rx platform for the rational design of what it calls ‘fit for purpose’ therapeutic proteins that display the optimum physical, efficacy, and selectivity characteristics. Besides EBI-005, the firm’s preclinical pipeline includes an anti-IL-6 candidate against autoimmune and inflammatory disease, an IL-17 receptor antagonist for the potential treatment of ocular inflammation and uveitis, and an anti-myostatin antibody for treating muscle wasting. Early-stage research programs are in progress in the fields of hematology, immunosuppression, metabolism, inflammation, and gout therapy. 

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