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Funds will enable CVasThera to prepare preclinical documentation required by regulators for CVT120165 compound in treatment of Crohn's disease and to launch pilot phase II trial in 2022
Toulouse, France - CVasThera, a biopharmaceutical company that specializes in the development of novel therapies for cardiovascular and bowel pathologies, today announces it has secured €1.3 million ($1.6M) in financial backing in its first funding round. These funds will triple the company’s equity and capital. It will enable CVasThera to finance the preclinical trials for its CVT120165 compound, a drug candidate in the treatment of Crohn's disease. Safety data is already available from phase I trials involving healthy volunteers, which were conducted in 2008 in another indication. The company plans to proceed directly to a pilot phase II trial with Crohn's patients in 2022.
The primary investor is OCSEED, a venture capital company supporting startups in the Occitanie region of France, which is investing in the company for the first time. This injection of funds, in the form of convertible bonds, will give CVasThera the equity capital it needs to proceed to clinical stage trials and recruit additional team members to support its pharmaceutical research and development work. The remaining financing will be provided by an injection of long-term and working capital from the company’s founders, an investment loan from Bpifrance, funding from the Occitanie region and a contract with the Agence Nationale de la Recherche, the French National Research Agency.
“OCSEED is committed to financing local startups in the early stages of their business ventures. We look for a leverage effect of at least three (top and bottom line), as is the case with CVasThera,” said Thierry Merquiol, CEO of OCSEED. “The company’s highly skilled team and its ability to run a successful preclinical phase were key factors in our decision. CVasThera also fits well into our intervention strategy, namely to support and finance essential development work.”
“For R&D work like ours to advance, it is essential to have funding at the preclinical trial stage,” said Bruno Le Grand, CEO and co-founder of CVasThera. “These funds will enable us to achieve a key milestone: preliminary evidence of the efficacy of our compound in Crohn's patients.”
The go-to treatment for Crohn’s patients with moderate to severe flare-ups is corticosteroids. However, these drugs have many disadvantages that limit their use. There is a significant medical need to find a treatment, alongside corticosteroids, that can reduce inflammatory flare-ups and repair the underlying damage to the lining of the intestine in early-diagnosed patients with Crohn’s.
CVasThera’s primary drug candidate is a ground-breaking innovation with the potential to fill a key gap in the arsenal of treatments for Crohn’s disease. Current treatments generally focus on reducing the inflammatory reaction, rather than repairing the damaged intestinal tissue. In contrast, the CVT120165 compound’s unique mechanism of action repairs the damage to the intestinal tissue and eliminates patients’ painful symptoms. Even more innovatively, the compound specifically targets the location of the damaged tissue. The molecule is contained in a proprietary capsule that enables reuptake and adhesion of the drug specifically on the damaged tissue of the intestinal tract. This combination of two complementary mechanisms — repair and targeted treatment — makes CVT120165 an extremely promising option for Crohn’s patients.
Though many companies are currently working on novel ways to reduce inflammatory flare-ups, the CVasThera project is the only one looking to repair the tissue damage caused by the disease. It is the only PAR-1 antagonist currently in clinical development for treating Crohn’s flare-ups and preventing relapses.
According to CVasThera’s own estimates, patients diagnosed with Crohn’s disease currently represent a $4 billion (€3.3bn) market in the US and Europe, which is increasing by 0.3% every year. Diagnosis of the disease and prevalence rates are also increasing at a significant rate.