Genoa Pharmaceuticals said today that it raised $62 million in a Series A round to support the development of inhaled therapies for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and other severe pulmonary conditions. The round was led by F-Prime Capital Partners and Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners.
Novo AS, RiverVest Venture Partners and TPG Biotech also invested in the round. The Seattle-based biotech added that venture capitalists Dr. Ketan Patel, Dr. Naveed Siddiqi, Tiba Aynechi, Niall O’Donnell and Dr. Heather Preston joined the baord of directors.
Dr. Bruce Montgomery was named CEO and the company’s founder, Mark Surber, was appointed chief scientific officer.
Genoa’s inhaled pirfendione, Aerodone, is slated to begin clinical development by the end of the year. An inhaled formulation of the drug would be a new offering for patients with IPF. The 1st and only 2 drugs approved by the FDA, oral pirfenidone and oral nintedanib, hit the market in 2014.
“In addition to advancing our early-stage pipeline, with this financing and our veteran development team, we have the funds and expertise to test Aerodone for the treatment of IPF through Phase II clinical trials,” Surber said in prepared remarks. “Despite the approval of 2 medicines, IPF remains a fatal disease with substantial unmet need for improved tolerability and effective medical treatments. By the inhaled approach, we are enthusiastic for the opportunity to meet these needs and improve patient lives.”
Oral pirfenidone is a low potency drug, according to Genoa, which means it requires a large dose to reach efficacious levels in the lungs. A large oral dose of pirfenidone comes with substantial side effects and therefore limits the deliverable dose. Genoa said its inhaled formulation could allow patients to take a larger dose while avoiding harmful side effects associated with oral delivery.
“Reformulating systemic drugs for targeted inhaled lung delivery has successfully improved the efficacy and decreased systemic adverse effects for corticosteroids and bronchodilators in both asthma and COPD, and antibiotics in cystic fibrosis,” Dr. Montgomery added. “We hope to accomplish the same benefits with pirfenidone.”