PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals has closed on $14.7 million in financing to advance PB1046, its lead compound in clinical development, as a potential treatment of orphan cardiopulmonary disorders such as pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).
New Enterprise Associates, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Hatteras Venture Partners, Fletcher Spaght Ventures, and Syno Capital all participated in the financing, which can be increased by $2.75 million from additional investors.
PhaseBio, based in Malvern, Pennsylvania, will use the funds to support an upcoming Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating PB1046 in patients with PAH, and to continue testing the compound in other clinical indications.
The financing will also be used to evaluate other products based on the company’s proprietary elastin-like polypeptide (ELP) technology platform.
PB1046 is based on the vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), a naturally occurring neuropeptide that activates G protein-coupled receptors – VPAC1 and VPAC2 – that are widely distributed throughout the cardiovascular, pulmonary and immune systems.
Many cardiopulmonary diseases, including PAH, are associated with changes in VIP’s properties or concentration. PhaseBio believes that the application of VIP-based therapies may have beneficial effects in the treatment of these debilitating diseases.
“There is robust scientific evidence for the use of VIP receptor agonists for the treatment of cardiopulmonary diseases, and PB1046 is the first VIP analog to demonstrate potential for once-weekly dosing,” PhaseBio CEO Jonathan P. Mow said in a press release. “This financing will enable PhaseBio to advance PB1046 in multiple orphan cardiopulmonary indications.”
“PhaseBio has the proven ability to identify novel drugs in therapeutic areas with high unmet need and to execute clinical development plans in an efficient manner,” said Justin Klein, MD, JD, a partner at New Enterprise Associates.
“We anticipate that the team will further utilize these strengths to develop PB1046 for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension and additional indications.”
In preclinical studies of mice with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), treatment with PB1046 improved DMD myopathies, decelerated cardiac deterioration, and by reducing fibrosis, PB1046 protected skeletal muscle.
The drug candidate is currently being evaluated in a multiple-dose escalation Phase 2a clinical trial (NCT02808585) in adult patients with stable heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFREF) and in patients with cardiac dysfunction secondary to DMD (part 2).