Cydan Raises $34 Million to Accelerate New Treatments for Rare Genetic Diseases

Cydan Raises $34 Million to Accelerate New Treatments for Rare Genetic Diseases

October 17, 2017

-      Funds further company’s mission to identify and de-risk preclinical rare disease therapeutics, ultimately, spinning out companies with IND-ready programs

-      Cydan expands leadership team with new chief medical officer and vice president of development

Cambridge, Mass., October 17, 2017 – Cydan today announced a new round of financing, raising a committed total of $34 million to advance the company’s efforts to create new and innovative therapies for patients living with rare genetic diseases. New investor, Longitude Capital, joins Cydan’s existing investors, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), who led the round, along with Pfizer Venture Investments, Alexandria Venture Investments, and Lundbeckfond Ventures in participating in the financing. The proceeds from this round of financing will fund Cydan II, Inc., continuing the mission of Cydan Development, Inc.

Cydan’s unique accelerator approach identifies compelling scientific ideas and promising drug candidates from academic, government, biotech and pharma sources. Using its experienced team and proven de-risking process, the company advances investigational therapies with potential utility in underserved rare, monogenic diseases through pre-clinical development. Upon completion of the de-risking phase, Cydan establishes independent companies that can advance these programs through clinical development and regulatory approval to, ultimately, deliver new treatments to patients. The syndicate of Cydan investors will fund Series A financings for these new companies to help them reach human proof-of-concept.

“Our initial financing enabled us to validate our model; in less than four years, we evaluated numerous diseases and multiple therapeutic approaches to successfully launch two well-funded companies that are quickly advancing promising new treatments for patients in need,” said Chris Adams, Ph.D., co-founder and chief executive officer of Cydan. “This round of financing shows continued confidence by our syndicate that our approach is effective, and extends our operations for another four years, increasing our ability to positively impact outcomes for patients with rare genetic diseases.”

Vtesse, Cydan’s first spinout company, launched in January 2015, is developing a novel therapy for Niemann-Pick Disease Type C (NPC). Vtesse was acquired by Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in April 2017 for an upfront consideration of $200 million. Cydan’s second company, Imara was launched in 2016 and is developing IMR-687, a novel treatment for Sickle Cell disease (SCD). Imara recently completed a Phase 1 clinical trial in healthy volunteers with its lead candidate, IMR-687, and plans to initiate a Phase 2 study in adult patients with SCD by the end of 2017.

In addition to the financing, Cydan has expanded its leadership team by hiring Shi Yin Foo, M.D. Ph.D. MMSc as chief medical officer and Niels Svenstrup, Ph.D. as vice president of development.

  • Dr. Foo brings approximately 20 years of experience as both a practicing physician and catalyst for advancing innovative new treatments through various stages of development. Prior to joining Cydan, Shi Yin was chief medical officer at Cardioxyl Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bristol-Myers Squibb), a translational medicine expert at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, an attending physician at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and an instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
  • Dr. Svenstrup has spent more than 15 years working in both the pharmaceutical and biotech industries across a variety of scientific and managerial roles. Before joining Cydan, Niels served as director of CMC at Ascendis Pharma, head of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at H. Lundbeck’s Neuroscience Drug Discovery Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, and began his career at Bayer Pharma in Germany as a medicinal chemist.

About Cydan

Cydan is an orphan drug accelerator dedicated to delivering therapies that will significantly improve the lives of people living with rare genetic diseases. The company evaluates experimental new therapies and advances those with the highest potential to be disease modifying treatments. Cydan’s goal is to launch new companies focused on developing promising therapies for rare genetic diseases with high unmet medical need. Cydan was founded in 2013 by a management team with extensive drug discovery, clinical development and business development experience and is financed by leading life sciences investors including New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Pfizer Venture Investments, Lundbeckfond Ventures, Longitude Capital, and Alexandria Venture Investments. Cydan is based in Tech Square in Cambridge, Mass. For more information, visit or contact the company at