Enterprise Therapeutics has closed on £4 million ($5 million U.S.) in financing to develop and advance its novel mucus-clearing therapies to treat patients with severe lung diseases.
Enterprise is pursuing new approaches to treat people with disorders such as cystic fibrosis (CF), asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), in which the lungs become congested with mucus, leading to difficulty in breathing.
The Brighton, England-based company is developing muco-regulatory therapies that target the underlying mechanisms of mucus congestion to reduce the frequency of lung infections and improve the patient’s quality of life.
Led by existing investors Epidarex Capital and Imperial Innovations, the funding will be specifically used to accelerate Enterprise’s three drug discovery projects toward clinical studies.
One of the projects aims to reduce the amount of mucus in the lung by reducing the number of mucus-producing goblet cells (the cells that secrete mucus) to healthy levels. This will be achieved by using a 3D model of the human airway epithelium called bronchospheres. The company believes that bronchospheres, structures that also contain the mucus-producing goblet cells, are ideal for use in high-throughput screening approaches to identify new drug targets.
The funds will also be used to research and advance two ion channel modulators, one a sodium channel called ENaC and the other a chloride channel called TMEM16A (Ano1). The company believes that both drugs will be able to overcome the mucus clearance problem seen in patients with CF and other lung diseases.
“Respiratory disease remains an area of high unmet medical need, especially in the area of CF where existing therapies do not treat all patients,” Dr. John Ford, CEO of Enterprise Therapeutics, said in a press release. “This additional funding will allow us to advance our research projects and move closer toward our goal of evaluating the efficacy of muco-regulatory drugs in patients.”
Dr. Liz Roper, investor director at Epidarex, said the funding, which should put the company in a strong position as research continues, is “based on excellent achievement of project milestones across all three discovery projects at Enterprise Therapeutics.”
“We are committed to the novel muco-regulatory approach that Enterprise is taking to combat respiratory diseases,” she added.
Dr. Rob Woodman, investor director at Imperial Innovations, said the Enterprise “has the potential to become a leading player in respiratory disease.”
“Enterprise Therapeutics has made significant progress in the 18 months since Imperial Innovations first invested,” Woodman said.