Landos Biopharma announced Tuesday it raised an additional $60 million in its quest to achieve federal approval for new autoimmune disease medications.

This round builds on top of $10 million the startup raised in 2017, right before it began Phase I clinical trials of its primary drug in development, called BT-11.

“Our ultimate goal is to serve those patients with autoimmune disease with unmet needs,” Virginia Tech researcher and Landos CEO Josep Bassaganya-Riera said. “And whatever it takes, we’ll do to accomplish that.”

Sam English, a local entrepreneur who recently studied the state of the region’s startup fundraising ecosystem, said this amount of capital is unusual.

Several local companies have raised funding rounds around $20 million in recent years. Roanoke County’s PixelOptics made a big splash when it raised $45 million to launch eyeglass technology in 2011.

English said it’s hard to compare fundraising from one startup era to the next, but anything above that high water mark would rank among the region’s largest startup funding rounds in recent history.

Drug development is notoriously expensive, beginning in the lab and then progressing through years of clinical trials in order to receive approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Bassaganya-Riera said the first $10 million Landos raised paid for Phase I clinical trials for BT-11, an oral treatment for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.