Rare Daily Staff
Dutch biotech Pharvaris has completed a $66 million series B financing that it will use to advance its lead compound PHA121, an oral treatment for hereditary angioedema that has just entered into clinical trials.
Foresite Capital led the round, which included the participation of new investors Bain Capital Life Sciences, venBio Partners, and Venrock Partners, as well as existing investors LSP, Kurma Partners and Idinvest Partners.
Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a rare, debilitating, and potentially life-threatening genetic condition that occurs in about one in 50,000 people. Patients with HAE are susceptible to sudden and prolonged attacks of edema in the hands, feet, face, gastrointestinal tract, and airways, resulting in severe swelling and pain, airway blockage, and nausea.
Current therapies involve either injection or infusion, and have inconvenient dosing regimens or undesired side effects. Pharvaris’ experimental therapy is a novel oral B2-receptor antagonist that the company hopes will be a more convenient method of drug administration.
“Our experienced team is capitalizing on its deep knowledge of drug development and HAE as we progress in the clinic with PHA121, a new chemical entity targeting the same mechanism as icatibant, a leading therapy for the treatment of HAE attacks,” said Berndt Modig, CEO and co-founder of Pharvaris. “The demands for less invasive routes of drug administration, more convenient dosing regimens, and additional treatment options support the development of an oral therapy to improve the quality of life of patients with HAE.”
The new capital will enable Pharvaris to expedite the clinical development of PHA121. The first subjects have been dosed in a phase 1, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, single-ascending-dose study to evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of PHA121 in healthy subjects. A multiple-ascending-dose study is anticipated to start in early 2020. In preclinical studies, PHA121 demonstrated oral bioavailability, selective antagonism of the B2 receptor, and potent and rapid activity in bradykinin-mediated disease models.
“Patients with HAE are eager for effective oral therapies. The development of a novel, oral B2-receptor antagonist could represent a new standard of care for the treatment and prevention of HAE and other B2-receptor-mediated conditions,” said Jochen Knolle, chief scientific officer and co-founder of Pharvaris.
Knolle is an inventor of icatibant and, as chief scientific officer and head of R&D at the pharmaceutical Jerini, was instrumental in the development and first approval of icatibant, the current standard of care treatment for HAE.
Photo: Berndt Modig, CEO and co-founder of Pharvaris