Montreal-based Laurent Pharmaceuticals recently announced the closing of a financing round, led by new investor Cystic Fibrosis Canada. The round included existing investors such as Aligo Innovation LP and Anges Quebec, and was promoted to allow the company to start preparing its upcoming Phase 2 clinical trial with LAU-7b, a once-daily oral drug to treat persistent inflammation in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. The trial is scheduled to start later this year in Canada and the United States.
“We are pleased to support Laurent Pharmaceuticals in its effort to bring this therapy closer to CF patients,” CF Canada’s CEO Norma Beauchamp said in a press release. “This is Cystic Fibrosis Canada’s first direct investment in a company and it builds on our mission to end CF by encouraging Canadian start-up companies to advance disruptive technologies for our patient community. We are impressed by LAU-7b’s potential benefits and by the company’s efforts in bringing this therapy to the next level of development.”
Laurent Pharmaceuticals’ first-in-class lipid modulator LAU-7b was developed to address the deficient immune-inflammatory response in cystic fibrosis patients. LAU-7b works by correcting the abnormal metabolism of arachidonic acid and docosahexanoic acid.
It is an investigational oral, solid form of fenretinide, a novel small molecule drug with a promising safety history in non-clinical and clinical studies. Preclinical research demonstrated that administering fenretinide orally corrects the lipid abnormalities in the lungs and plasma of certain cystic fibrosis animal models, helping lung inflammation and reducing the severity of Pseudomonas aeruginosa-related pulmonary infections.
“Although the impacts of CFTR modulators on sweat chloride and lung function are exciting, they have not yet demonstrated an effect on inflammation,” said Radu Pislariu, Laurent Pharmaceuticals’ president and CEO. “CF Canada’s support and recognition is very encouraging for our team and investors. The AA/DHA imbalance in cystic fibrosis has long been recognized as a hallmark of the disease, but its potential in modulating the immune-inflammatory response in CF has been largely unexplored.”
In 2015, LAU-7b completed a Phase 1b dose-ascending trial in adult cystic fibrosis patients with promising results. The Phase 2 trial is now being prepared in collaboration with the Therapeutic Development Network (TDN), the largest cystic fibrosis clinical trials network in the world that is affiliated with the American CF Foundation.