The recently announced merger of Proterris, a clinical development stage company focused on therapeutic applications of low-dose carbon monoxide (CO), and Alfama, a global leader in the development of Carbon Monoxide-Releasing Molecules (CORMs), is projected to lead to a significant increase in the development of successful therapeutic candidates for chronic lung diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
CO is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is considered to be highly toxic. In spite of its toxicity, research literature indicates there is current interest in its identified therapeutic properties to treat a wide range of diseases and conditions, many of which involve the treatment and prevention of damage due to diseases affecting the lungs’ delicate tissue.
“Alfama has discovered and developed unique families of CORMs which have demonstrated very potent anti-fibrotic, anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective effects with very low toxicity potential,” Jeffrey D. Wager, MD, chairman and CEO of Proterris, said in a press release. “Until now, achievement of such drug-like profiles for CORMs has eluded scientists and companies alike.”
“Alfama’s CORM assets represent excellent candidates for drug development for those indications which are less amenable to therapy with CO gas,” Wagner said. “In addition, by establishing Proterris (Portugal) Lda., we are now well-positioned to pursue a variety of European partnering and fundraising activities in both the private and public sectors.”
This reasoning was shared by Wagner’s colleague Celso Guedes de Carvalho, CEO of Portugal Ventures, one of Alfama’s largest shareholders.
“This transaction demonstrates how supporting investments for the ‘long-haul’ – given the capital and time required in the biotech sector – allows breakthrough technologies to reach patients,” he said.
The merger of Proterris and Alfama for research and development of successful CO therapies has been undertaken with the assistance of approximately $23 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for three Phase 2 clinical trials over the past five years that assessed low-dose carbon monoxide gas.
“The merger of Alfama with Proterris represents a very synergistic and strategic fit between two companies with common goals, and substantially enhances corporate value for both sets of shareholders,” said Alfama Chief Exective Nuno Arantes-Oliveira. “We are very glad to make Alfama part of Proterris’ exceptional IP portfolio, an important step in our evolution towards bringing low-dose CO therapies to patients.”
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