(Photo by Flickr user University of Liverpool, under a Creative Commons license)
Eleven-person biotech company Chondrial Therapeutics just raised $25.8 million in a private stock sale to commercialize its treatment for people with the neurodegenerative movement disorder Friedreich’s ataxia.
The funding will support Chondrial’s FDA application for its technology called CTI-1601, which it licensed in 2016 (the same year of their founding). This will allow the company to complete the studies necessary to finish the application and initiate phase one of its clinical trials by the end of this year.
The $25.8 million is only the beginning. The initial funds are part of an overall $35.8 million raised, the majority from investor Deerfield Management, and the rest of which is currently tranched. Included in the $25.8 million is a previously raised $22.6 million in Series A financing in 2017.
“As we meet certain milestones, we receive additional funds,” CEO Dr. Carole Ben-Maimon said in an interview with Technical.ly.
Following this, the company hopes to raise Series B funding, which will support the completion of phase one trials and begin phase two, by the end of 2019.
Children diagnosed with Fredreich’s ataxia appear genetically normal at birth, but become “clumsy” around puberty. In their early- to mid-20s, most are wheelchair bound and eventually die of cardiac disease in their 30s and 40s. Along the way, many develop diabetes or other symptoms such as the inability to feed themselves and swallow and impaired vision.
“It’s a devastating disease, and there are families with not only with one child but actually families with two children with the disease,” Ben-Maimon said of the genetic disease, because “most of these people have had their families before they know their child has the disease.”
Though there is no cure for the disease at this time, Chondrial’s cofounder and chief scientific officer, Mark Payne, discovered the CTI-1601 treatment to help patients. The platform delivers proteins and other parts of the cell across cell membranes. This is crucial for ataxia patients, who are missing a protein called frataxin.
Chondrial is based out of Bala Cynwyd, where Ben-Maimon said she “grew up, was trained and lives” with an additional lab at the University City Science Center. After raising the funds, the CEO said she has no plans to move Chondrial away from Philadelphia’s booming biotech industry.
Plus, of course, “Philly is halfway between New York and D.C.” Ben-Maimon said. “They’ve got the FDA down in D.C. and the financial community up in New York, so it’s just very well located.”-30-
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