Lumena Pharmaceuticals Inc. has closed a $45 million Series B round, and will use the funding to develop drugs for two diseases of the liver.
Lumena, founded three years ago by Pappas Ventures, has raised $78 million in private financings to date. New Enterprise Associates led the round, along with Adage Capital Management and RA Capital Management. They join existing investors Pappas Ventures, RiverVest Venture Partners and Alta Partners.
Its lead drug candidate, LUM001, focuses on cholestatic liver disease, a rare condition which causes increases in the level of bile acid production, leading extreme itching and pain. The drug has been studied in more than 1,400 patints in 12 clinical studies, and has received orphan drug designation in the U.S. and Europe — a label granted to pharmaceuticals treating rare diseases that can help fast track their regulatory approval.
Lumena is also focusing on a second drug, LUM002, to treat nonalcoholic steatohepatitis — a condition that causes inflammation of the liver that’s becoming increasingly more common as the rates of diabetes and obesity rise.