San Diego Business Journal

Auspex Raises $35M, Makes New Board Appointment

By Meghana Keshavan Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Auspex Pharmaceuticals Inc. has raised $35 million through separate funding rounds — a $20 million Series E equity round from Deerfield Management Co. and others, and a $15 million, four-year venture loan from Oxford Finance LLC.

Auspex is in Phase III clinical trials for its drug that treats chorea — involuntary twisting and writhing movements — associated with Huntington’s disease, a degenerative genetic neurological disease. The company is also developing drugs for other movement disorders like Tourette’s syndrome.

Other investors in the Series E round include existing investors Thomas, McNerney and Partners, CMEA Capital, Panorama Capital, BioMed Ventures and Costa Verde Capital.

Auspex also appointed Gerard Proehl, former president and CEO of San Diego’s Santarus Inc. as a member of its board of directors. Proehl helped usher Santarus’ $2.6 billion sale to Raleigh, N.C.-based Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. last month. He will take the place of David Collier, who is stepping down from the board, Auspex said.

The company ushered in several new execs into its C-suite this past October. Auspex’s executive chairman, Pratik Shah, became its CEO; Bharatt Chowrira, previously CEO of Addex Therapeutics, became its chief operating officer; and Samuel Saks, an Auspex board member and co-founder and CEO of Jazz Pharmaceuticals Inc., became chief development officer. Additionally, John Schmid, co-founder and chief financial officer of Trius Therapeutics Inc. – a San Diego drug company acquired in September by Lexington, Mass.-based Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. for $704 million — was appointed Auspex’s new chief financial officer.

Before this funding round, it received $25 million in Series D funding in November 2012 from existing investors Thomas, McNerney & Partners, CMEA Capital and Sloan Biotech Fund.