Vapogenix Inc. said yesterday that it raised $8.2 million in a Series C financing round to fund the development of its locally-acting painkiller. Pamoja Capital and a group of pain physicians led the round.
The Houston, Texas-based company’s technology is a topical formulation of volatile anesthetics, which are normally inhaled as general anesthesia. Vapogenix has developed volatile anesthetic-based topical gels and liquids to treat wounds, combat-related injuries, osteoarthritis, and muscular and inflammatory conditions. The funding will support a phase II proof-of-concept study of the topical painkiller, which Vapogenix anticipates will begin next year.
“There is enormous potential and demand for a safe, pain-relief therapy that treats wounds and burns at the source of the pain. The topical delivery of Vapogenix medicines will help minimize the need for, and the numerous side-effects of, systemic drugs like opioids,” co-founder & CEO Danguole Altman said in prepared remarks. “Overdoses involving opioids killed more than 28,000 people in 2014 and more than half of those deaths were from prescription opioids. This horrific epidemic demands that we find better, more innovative solutions to pain management.”
“This is groundbreaking work in that this is the first time volatile anesthetics have been formulated to treat pain topically,” co-founder and scientific advisory board chairman Dr.Allen Burton added. “Extensive case reports support dramatic pain reduction, rapid onset and localized effect of Project AWARD. We are thrilled to begin a phase II proof-of-concept study as this is an important step towards commercialization of this product.”