April 3, 2024
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Updated: Thousand Oaks biotech firm emerges from stealth with $135M in funding

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Editor’s note: This story was updated on Feb. 23 to include more info about the company’s lead treatment.

Latigo Biotherapeutics, a Thousand Oaks-based biotech firm that was originally founded by Westlake Village BioPartners, emerged from stealth mode on Feb. 14, announcing $135 million in Series A financing.

Latigo is a clinical-stage biotechnology company looking to develop non-opioid pain medicines that target pain at its source, according to a press release. 

Proceeds from the financing will support the continued advancement of Latigo’s portfolio of novel pain therapeutics and the growth of the company and its platform.

The company’s $135 million in Series A financing was led by Westlake Village BioPartners, who also incubated Latigo, with 5AM Ventures and Foresite Capital acting as co-leads with participation from Corner Ventures.

As part of the financing announced, Latigo has also appointed Desmond Padhi, an operating partner at Westlake Village BioPartners, as the company’s interim CEO while Nancy Stagliano, CEO of San Francisco-based Neuron23, as the chair of the board.

“It is particularly gratifying for me to participate in the evolution of Latigo over the past several years since its inception,” Padhi said in a press release. 

“With a strong syndicate of investors and the significant capital we’ve raised, we are well positioned to build a company that provides new therapeutic options to patients with pain. Latigo’s targets are identified by human genetics, grounded in human biology, and characterized using state-of-the-art human model systems. This combination increases our probability of success across the development continuum.”

Westlake Village BioPartners, a venture capital firm focused on biotechnology startups in the Conejo Valley and the rest of greater Los Angeles, announced the closing of its third fund on July 17, raising $450 million that will go toward early-stage next-generation biotechnology companies.

In total, the firm’s oversubscribed third fund brings the total raised to $1.3 billion since its founding in September 2018. 

The firm was founded by Sean Harper and Beth Seidenberg in 2018.

Latigo is based in Thousand Oaks and is in the same plaza as fellow Westlake-back biotech company, Capsida. The company has about 26 employees.

Latigo’s lead program, LTG-001, is an oral, selective Nav1.8 inhibitor currently in Phase 1 clinical trials in healthy volunteers and intended to treat acute and chronic pain. 

LTG-001 has the potential to be best-in-class with a rapid onset, meaningful efficacy, and superior safety to standard of care with no central nervous system effects, according to a press release. 

LTG-001 is designed to silence pain-signaling neurons by blocking a sodium channel called NaV 1.8. 

This molecular ‘gate’ is also targeted by Vertex’s recently successful pain therapy, hence positioning Latigo Biotherapeutics as a direct competitor, according to Stat, a health-oriented news website. 

The oral drug aims to provide a more effective and safer alternative to opioid-based painkillers, which have been associated with addiction and other health risks.

Beyond Nav1.8, the company has a pipeline of novel, genetically identified targets with small molecule programs at the discovery stage.

“Until recently, there was little innovation in pain therapeutics. Current treatments have significant liabilities – opioids carry the risk of dependency, while NSAIDs can be poorly tolerated with long-term use,” Stagliano said in a press release. 

“Today, with a potentially best-in-class clinical-stage Nav1.8 inhibitor as our lead program, Latigo is fulfilling its vision of developing non-opioid therapies for patients suffering from acute and chronic pain where there is a significant high unmet need for new treatments.”

email: jmercado@pacbiztimes.com