A series of Canadian so-called angel investors, primarily Anges Québec, are partnering with Aligo Innovation and other private investors to help Cystic Fibrosis Canada support the growth of Laurent Pharmaceuticals, a Montreal-based private biopharma that is developing a lipid modulator to address the compromised immune-inflammatory response in patients with cystic fibrosis.
It’s been known that most cystic fibrosis (CF) patients have an imbalance of essential fatty acids that can ultimately contribute to inflammation and lung infections that lead to respiratory failure.
LAU-7b is an investigational, oral, solid dose form of fenretinide, a new small molecule drug that has been clinically proven to correct the lipid abnormalities in the lungs and plasma of certain animal models of CF, resulting in reduced lung inflammation and a significant decrease in the severity of Pseudomonas aeruginosa-related pulmonary infections. P. aeruginosa is a bacterium that perpetuates inflammation and infection, a vicious circle experienced by CF patients.
“With the clinical development of fenretinide, the level of risk of the drug development has dropped significantly after being tested on thousands of mainly cancer patients, and after it received orphan status by the FDA,” said Marc LeBel, a member of Anges Québec, in a press release.
Following a Phase 1b clinical trial of LAU-7b in adults suffering from cystic fibrosis, which took place in 2015 with promising results, the new investments will be used to lay the groundwork for the set-up of a Phase 2 clinical trial on LAU-7b in CF patients in Canada and the United States.
“This funding has allowed us to make further progress in developing our product. Through their financial support, members of Anges Québec are investing not only in Laurent Pharmaceuticals, but in the treatment of cystic fibrosis,” said Laurent Pharmaceuticals’ CEO Radu Pislariu.
Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening disease that affects nearly 4,000 Canadians, 30,000 Americans, and an estimated 70,000 people around the world. The condition is caused by a mutation in the CFTR gene and is usually characterized by sticky mucus secretions caused by a CFTR-related salt imbalance, which obstructs the airways and promotes inflammation and dangerous lung infections. Patients with cystic fibrosis can develop a severe pulmonary dysfunction.