A group of ex-Neurocrine Biosciences employees have raised $40 million in a Series A round for their new startup, Crinetics Pharmaceuticals.

The round was led by institutional investors 5AM Ventures, Versant Ventures, and Vivo Capital.

Crinetics, which is developing oral drugs for endocrine disorders, plans to use the proceeds mostly to advance its lead drug candidate. The startup wants to carry out clinical proof-of-concept trials of the drug as a new treatment for neuroendocrine tumors and acromegaly, a rare disorder caused by excess growth hormone production that affects at least 20,000 people in the United States.

The company is led by CEO Scott Struthers, who previously headed endocrinology and metabolism R&D at San Diego’s Neurocrine Biosciences. Struthers was joined by former Neurocrine colleagues Frank Zhu and Steve Betz in 2009 after Neurocrine cut half of its 120 employees. Anna Kusnetzow, another Neurocrine colleague, joined Crinetics in 2010 and the four co-founders opened the startup’s first laboratory earlier that year.

Crinetics has 12 employees, and is looking to substantially expand its drug development work, according to Xconomy.