Rare Daily Staff

Spruce Biosciences, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel therapies for rare endocrine disorders, emerged from stealth mode and announced it had raised $20 million at the end of last year.

Novo Holdings A/S led the financing with additional investment from RiverVest Venture Partners

Co-founded by CEO Alexis Howerton, Spruce is leveraging its expertise in endocrinology and orphan drug development to meet the unmet need of patients suffering from rare endocrine diseases. The company’s lead indication, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, is caused by genetic mutations that result in the inability to produce the critical stress hormone cortisol.

Although CAH is part of the newborn screening program, there are currently no FDA-approved therapies for CAH. CAH is typically treated with chronic, high-dose steroids which often result in significant side effects and long-term health consequences.

The funding was used in part to complete the licensing of SPR001, together with a substantial body of nonclinical and clinical data, and initiate a mid-stage clinical trial to study the safety and efficacy of the experimental therapy to treat adults with classic CAH. The study is currently enrolling at centers across the United States, with initial data expected in 2018.

Concurrent with the financing, Tiba Aynechi from Novo Ventures and Niall O’Donnell from RiverVest joined the Board of Directors. Earlier this year, Mike Grey was named executive chairman. Grey has founded and held leadership positions in a number of biopharmaceutical companies, including Lumena Pharmaceuticals, and brings more than 40 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Spruce also recently expanded its leadership team to appoint Michael Huang as its chief medical officer. Huang has more than 10 years of clinical research experience in all phases of drug development and has provided leadership resulting in several successful drug approvals prior to joining Spruce. Most recently he served as vice president of clinical development at Regulus Therapeutics. Prior to Regulus, Huang held positions of increasing responsibility at Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Santarus, and Auspex Pharmaceuticals.

October 12, 2017

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