Company is developing antibody-drug conjugates and bispecific antibodies.

Sutro Biopharma has closed a second tranche of its Series C financing worth $16.5 million. This financing was led by Skyline Ventures and included participation of Lilly Ventures, Amgen Ventures, SV Life Sciences, and Alta Partners.

“We are pleased with the great progress Sutro has made in developing its next-generation antibody-drug conjugate and bispecific antibody platforms as well as in its efforts to establish select collaborations,” states Leon Chen, Ph.D., partner at Skyline Ventures.

“Although we generally remain cautious, especially when investing in earlier-stage companies, we see the tremendous potential for antibody-drug conjugates and bispecific antibodies for drug development, particularly in cancer therapy,” Dr. Chen adds. “We believe that Sutro’s biochemical protein synthesis platform provides a unique opportunity to rapidly identify and develop next-generation therapeutics that can be manufactured utilizing the same platform in accordance with current good manufacturing practices.”

Sutro’s biochemical synthesis technology reportedly allows the rapid and systematic exploration of many protein drug variants to identify drug candidates. The make-test cycle for hundreds of protein variants including those incorporating non-natural amino acids takes approximately two weeks, according to Sutro.

The firm says that it has raised almost $60 million since its founding in 2003. During November 2010 it raised $36.5 million in a Series C financing round to support the development of both its biotherapeutics pipeline and its biochemical protein-synthesis platform.

In terms of its lead product, Sutro says only that it is a biosuperior that takes advantage of its in vitro non-natural amino acid incorporation technology. In addition to developing its own pipeline, the company also aims to collaborate for protein therapeutic R&D. In January 2011, Sutro inked its first deal: a multiyear arrangement with Pfizer focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of peptide-based therapeutics.

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