Money will be used to progress preclinical research on small molecules for autoimmune diseases.

Lycera, a company focused on developing oral medicines to treat autoimmune diseases, reports a second tranche of $11 million in its Series A financing. Proceeds will be used to continue advancing its discovery and development efforts.

“Triggering the second tranche is a testament to the progress Lycera has made in key areas with a focus on advancing the company’s cellular bioenergetics and Th17 (ROR-gamma) programs,” notes Jeffrey Leiden, M.D., Ph.D., managing director at Clarus Venture Partners who has been appointed as chairman of Lycera’s board of directors. “The company is on track to be in the clinic next year with its first small molecule oral therapy for autoimmune disease.”

Founded in 2006, Lycera is headquartered in Cambridge, MA, and has a research center in Ann Arbor, MI. The firm says that it has identified two novel autoimmune pathways and is developing new classes of selective small molecule immunomodulators for the treatment of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Lycera’s ATPase program is focused on cellular bioenergetics to selectively target and deplete pathologically activated lymphocytes without global immunosuppression, thereby keeping the healthy immune cells intact. Additionally, the company has a lead program that targets Th17 cells, key mediators of inflammation, through the inhibition of ROR-gamma, a member of a nuclear receptor super-family.

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