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aTyr Pharma Secures $23M Financing From Top Tier Venture Investor
Date:10/26/2010

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- aTyr Pharma, the physiocrine therapeutics company, today announced a $23 million Series C equity financing led by Domain Associates.  Domain joins existing venture investors Alta Partners, Cardinal Partners and Polaris Ventures, who also participated in the financing.  Proceeds will be used to accelerate the development of aTyr's preclinical pipeline and advance physiocrine drug candidates into clinical trials.  Physiocrines are a recently elucidated class of endogenous human proteins that function as extracellular signaling molecules in a variety of physiologic settings.  As either therapeutic proteins or as targets for antibodies, physiocrines have the potential to address a wide range of diseases, including high unmet patient needs in blood, immune, and metabolism disorders.

"Physiocrines offer a completely new set of physiologic extracellular pathways for developing novel therapeutics.  These natural human proteins function in normal and pathologic settings, yet act via mechanisms that are differentiated and potentially superior from other therapeutic approaches," said James C. Blair, Ph.D., Partner at Domain Associates.  "We believe multiple products within aTyr's portfolio offer promise for fundamentally improved patient care while achieving attractive commercial goals.  We are enthusiastic to work with aTyr's leadership team and existing syndicate to build a world class protein therapeutics enterprise."  

"Attracting investors with a successful track record in protein therapeutics further re-enforces the therapeutic promise of our new class of human proteins, physiocrines.  As the exclusive developer of physiocrine-based therapeutics, aTyr is well positioned by this recent financing to further build a strong, sustainable pipeline of innovative medicines for patients," said Jeff Watkins, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of aTyr Pharma.  "Our initial physiocrine program heading to the clinic, Tmax, for treating thrombocytopenia, will serve as our first proof of concept for this exciting class of protein-based therapeutics."

As part of the financing Dr. James C. Blair will serve as a Director for the company, joining current board members Mr. John Clarke, Dr. David Mack, Dr. John Mendlein, Dr. Amir Nashat, Dr. Paul Schimmel and Dr. Jeff Watkins.

About Physiocrines

Physiocrines are a new class of extracellular proteins that modulate signaling pathways in a variety of physiological processes.  Physiocrines are derived from tRNA synthetases, which function intracellularly, and thus were overlooked by genomic discovery efforts.  These endogenous human proteins have a broad range of activities and act through a variety of receptor classes, via mechanisms distinct from current pharmaceuticals, and have applications relevant to a number of therapeutic areas ranging from immunology and hematology to metabolism disorders.

About aTyr Pharma

aTyr Pharma develops biologic therapeutics based on physiocrines, and is currently focusing on developing products to improve patient care in immune, metabolic, and hematologic indications.  aTyr Pharma has established a dominant intellectual property estate surrounding physiocrine based compositions and therapeutic applications. The company's leading program, Tmax, is in preclinical development.  The privately held biotech was founded by Dr. Paul Schimmel, a leading aminoacyl tRNA synthetase scientist and biotechnology entrepreneur, and John Clarke from Cardinal Partners.  aTyr Pharma is backed by leading life sciences investors Alta Partners, Cardinal Partners, Domain Associates and Polaris Ventures. For more information please visit www.atyrpharma.com


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