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Iron Pillar leads Series D funding round in drug firm Vyome
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Specialty pharmaceutical company Vyome Therapeutics Inc. on Thursday said it has raised $22 million (Rs 154 crore at current exchange rates) in a Series D round of funding led by new investor Iron Pillar.

Existing investors including Perceptive Advisors, Romulus Capital and Kalaari Capital also participated in this funding round, said Vyome (formerly Vyome Biosciences) in a statement. The company is using part of the capital to facilitate a secondary transaction, it added without disclosing any details.

A person close to the transaction told VCCircle that one of its investors Sabre Partners exited during the process. An email sent to Sabre Partners did not elicit a response till the time of filing the article.

Vyome will primarily use the money to advance its lead molecule, VB 1953, it said. 

Vyome’s VB 1953 targets the potential $2-billion market of antibiotic-resistant acne in the US where it is the most common skin disease, affecting 85% of teenagers and 40-50 million people, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

“The closing of Vyome’s Series D (round) comes at a transformational time for the company, as we prepare to initiate a phase 2b clinical trial with our lead candidate,” said Venkateswarlu Nelabhotla, chief executive officer of Vyome Therapeutics. “We see this investment as a validation of Vyome’s innovative approach to efficient specialty pharmaceutical development and the ability of the company’s scientific platform to help solve the problem of microbial resistance in dermatology,” he added.

Mohanjit Jolly, a partner at Iron Pillar, said that the investment fits well with the VC firm's approach of backing visionary entrepreneurs, together with patented platform technologies and products that have the potential to leapfrog the current market. 

Vyome also said that the company completed its corporate restructuring, following which Chris Garabedian, former chief executive of biopharmaceutical company Sarepta Therapeutics, has been elevated from director of the board to executive chairman.

Vyome, set up in 2010, had raised $3.35 million from Kalaari Capital, Navam Capital and Aarin Capital in 2012 in its Series A round. It secured $8 million in a Series B round led by Sabre Partners, with the participation of Kalaari Capital and Aarin Capital, in August 2014. In August 2016, it had received $14 million (Rs 94 crore) in a Series C funding round led by New York-based life sciences fund Perceptive Advisors and Boston-based venture capital firm Romulus Capital.

Vyome’s multiple funding rounds are significant as investments in drug discovery companies are seen as long-term and risky by investors. However, successful development of lead molecules could make such companies attractive potential investment or acquisition targets.

Iron Pillar's investments

The VC firm, which provides growth capital to mid-stage tech companies in India, had marked the final close of its maiden fund at $90 million.

Its investments include Servify, a startup that offers brand-authorised after-sales service for devices, Hyderabad-based small and medium enterprise-focussed software-as-a-service startup NowFloats Technologies and online jewellery platform Bluestone.com.

In October, Iron Pillar founder Anand Prasanna had told VCCircle that the fund aims to make six more deals and stagger it by doing three to four deals a year.

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