A.M. Pappas & Associates is backing a Silicon Valley pharmaceutical company that has licensed antibiotics initially developed in Japan.

Pappas is part of a $22 million second round raised by Peninsula Pharmaceuticals of Fremont, Calif. The round was led by New Jersey-based Domain Associates and also included Canaan Partners of Connecticut, Japan-based Mitsubishi Corp. and Silicon Valley venture firm Montreux Equity Partners.

Peninsula closed on part of the round in late August and recently beat a milestone to obtain the rest of the funding, says Pappas Senior Vice President Ford Worthy.

Peninsula has licensed drugs that treat respiratory tract and urinary tract infections from a Japanese pharmaceutical company that Worthy declines to name. Pappas was brought into the funding round because of its close ties to the Japanese market and its past history in working with Domain, he says.

Pappas Chairman Chief Executive Art Pappas headed the Asian operations of drug giant Glaxo, now GlaxoSmithKline, before founding the venture capital and consulting firm that bears his name. Also, Domain and Pappas have previously co-invested in AtheroGenics of Alpharetta, Ga., and NuVasive and X-Ceptor Therapeutics, both of San Diego.

Worthy says his firm was attracted to the deal because Peninsula’s strategy of obtaining the North American rights to drugs that already have gone partially through the development pipeline shortens the time until they hit the market and the risk involved in their development.

“They’ve been rigorously sifting through compounds that have been in advanced development in Japan,” he says, noting one compound is already in the equivalent of late Phase II clinical trials in Japan. “They can take the Japanese data and use it to get a huge jump-start on the U.S. clinical trials.”

Peninsula was founded last year by Paul Truex, a former executive at Eli Lilly and Versicor, another Silicon Valley drug company. Its board includes Lowell Sears, a former chief financial officer at Amgen, who also personally participated in Peninsula’s latest funding round.

Pappas has participated in about a half dozen venture deals so far this year with its $102 million TechAMP II fund that it closed last fall. None have been in the Southeast, but Worthy says the firm is close to completing a regional deal.

A.M. Pappas & Associates: www.ampappas.com