Lead program is being developed in thrombocytopenia.

aTyr Pharma reported a $23 million Series C equity financing. Proceeds will be used to accelerate development of its preclinical pipeline and advance physiocrine drug candidates into clinical trials. 

Physiocrines are a class of endogenous human proteins that function as extracellular signaling molecules in a variety of physiologic settings. They are derived from tRNA synthetases, which function intracellularly, and thus were overlooked by genomic discovery efforts, according to aTyr.

Physiocrines have a broad range of activities and act through a variety of receptor classes, via mechanisms distinct from current pharmaceuticals, the company adds. They are thought to have applications relevant to a number of therapeutic areas ranging from immunology and hematology to metabolism disorders.

aTyr is leveraging physiocrines as therapeutic proteins and as targets for antibodies. Its lead program, Tmax, is in preclinical development for thrombocytopenia. 

“Physiocrines offer a completely new set of physiologic extracellular pathways for developing novel therapeutics,” says James C. Blair, Ph.D., partner at Domain Associates, which led the financing. “These natural human proteins function in normal and pathologic settings yet act via mechanisms that are differentiated from and potentially superior to other therapeutic approaches. We believe multiple products within aTyr’s portfolio offer promise for fundamentally improved patient care while achieving attractive commercial goals.”

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