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Index Ventures and Amunix Invest in Diartis Pharmaceuticals


Diartis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a newly founded biotechnology company, announced today that it has received initial funding from Index Ventures, Amunix Inc., a U.S. based biotechnology company, and private investors. The company has also acquired a clinical-stage diabetes drug candidate from Versartis, Inc., VRS-859 (exenatide-XTEN), and with this initial funding will continue its development for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

A Phase 1a multi-center, blinded, placebo-controlled, single-ascending dose study is ongoing to evaluate the safety and ability of VRS-859 to maintain glycemic control for one month in T2DM patients after a single dose. The results of the Phase 1a study are anticipated in Q2 2011. The Phase 1a study will be followed later this year by a repeat dose (3 month) Phase 1b study comparing VRS-859 to Byetta® (exenatide injection) in T2DM patients. VRS-859 is intended as a once-monthly form of the GLP-1 analog, exenatide.

Commenting on the investment, Kevin Johnson, London based partner at Index Ventures said, “We are delighted to invest in Diartis Pharmaceuticals. The company will focus on moving this exciting compound rapidly through early clinical development. Given the dramatic rise in the number of people with type 2 diabetes, there is a significant market need for a longer acting form of the GLP-1 analog exenatide.”

About Diartis Pharmaceuticals

Diartis is a biotechnology company founded to develop therapeutics for the treatment of metabolic diseases that address both significant unmet medical needs as well as large market opportunities. The company’s lead product candidate is VRS-859, a once monthly form of the GLP-1 analog, exenatide, which is currently in a multi-center Phase 1a trial. Diartis is pursuing the development of new therapeutic proteins utilizing the Amunix novel half-life extension XTEN technology. XTEN is a novel hydrophilic sequence of natural amino acids and is expressed as a fusion protein with a therapeutically active peptide or protein. New compounds developed by Diartis using the XTEN technology are expected to provide improved therapeutic outcomes such as enhanced efficacy/compliance, fewer side effects, prolonged half-life (up to monthly dosing), as well as low-cost production and enhanced stability. Further information on Diartis can be found at


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