(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
Remington-based biotech company AsclepiX Therapeutics raised $35 million in funding for clinical trials of the treatment it is developing for eye diseases that are leading causes of blindness in adults.
The Series A round was led by the Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund, which focuses on early stage life sciences. Also participating as a new investor was Perceptive Life Sciences Fund, which, like the lead investor, is a fund managed by New-York-based Perceptive Advisors. Existing investors contributing in the round included Rapha Capital Management and Barer & Son Capital.
“This investment represents a watershed moment for AsclepiX and provides transformative support for our vision to revolutionize the therapy of retinal disease and ultimately apply our computational technology platform to the discovery of novel clinically active molecules,” Dr. Steven M. Altschuler, chair of the AsclepiX board and cofounder of Spark Therapeutics, which scored a record-setting exit for Philly when it was acquired by Roche last year.
One of a cluster of biotech companies that grew out of research at the city’s medical institutions, the company was founded by Drs. Aleksander S. Popel and Jordan J. Green of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. It is now based at Remington’s R. House, where Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures maintains office and lab space. It also has an office in Jersey City, New Jersey.
AsclepiX developed a computational biology-based discovery platform. Its investigational drug candidate, called AXT107, emerged from that platform. The drug is being developed to treat diseases eye disease called diabetic macular edema (DME), wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) and macular edema secondary to retinal vein occlusion (RVO).
The therapy could be given in one injection a year, the company said. This is a difference from currently available therapies, which require injections every one to three months, which leads to more treatment burden and potentially fewer doses than called for being given. The funding will support Phase 1 and 2a clinical trials for the company, in which the treatment is evaluated in human patients. The first clinical trials are set to begin later this year. The company has openings for six positions currently posted, many of which are related to clinical trials.
Joining the company’s board with the financing are Perceptive Advisors’ PXV Fund Manager Chris Garabedian and Dr. Ben Askew, a partner for R&D at Xontogeny.-30-
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