Laurent Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced today the closing of a financing round led by Cystic Fibrosis Canada. Existing investors Aligo Innovation LP (previously MSBi Valorisation) and members of Anges Quebec, as well as other existing and new private investors, also participated in the round.
This investment will allow the preparation of the upcoming Phase 2 clinical trial with LAU-7b in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, planned to start later this year in Canada and United States. LAU-7b is a once-a-day oral drug addressing the persistent and unresolved inflammation, a leading cause of lung tissue destruction in CF.
“We are pleased to support Laurent Pharmaceuticals in its effort to bring this therapy closer to CF patients”, said Norma Beauchamp, the CEO of Cystic Fibrosis Canada. “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-ups 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.”
LAU-7b, a novel solid dosage form of fenretinide, works by correcting the defective metabolism of arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), a new treatment paradigm supported by a strong rationale linked to the expression of the CFTR genetic defect. “Although the impact of CFTR modulators on sweat chloride and lung function are exciting, they have not yet demonstrated an effect on inflammation,” said Radu Pislariu, the President and CEO of Laurent Pharmaceuticals. “CF Canada’s support and recognition is very encouraging for our team and investors. The AA/DHA imbalance in CF 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 study in adult CF patients with promising results. Laurent Pharmaceuticals is currently preparing a Phase 2 clinical trial in collaboration with the Therapeutic Development Network (TDN), the largest CF clinical trials network in the world affiliated to the US CF Foundation.
About Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic Fibrosis is the most common fatal hereditary disease among Caucasians, affecting 4,000 Canadians and an estimated 70,000 people worldwide. CF is caused by mutations in the CFTR gene and is characterized by viscous secretions in different exocrine tissues and an aberrant inflammatory response manifested by excessive but inefficient inflammation, leading to pulmonary chronic infection and loss in lung function over time. Severe pulmonary dysfunction is the primary cause of death in CF.
About Cystic Fibrosis Canada
Cystic Fibrosis Canada is one of the world’s top three charitable organizations committed to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis and is an internationally-recognized leader in funding CF research, innovation, and clinical care. We invest more funding in life-saving CF research and care than any other non-governmental agency in Canada. Since 1960, Cystic Fibrosis Canada has invested more than $226 million in leading research, care and advocacy, resulting in one of the world’s highest median survival rates for Canadians living with cystic fibrosis. For more information, visit www.cysticfibrosis.ca.
About Laurent Pharmaceuticals
Laurent Pharmaceuticals is a Montréal-based private biopharmaceutical company developing a first-in-class lipid modulator (LAU-7b) addressing the compromised immune-inflammatory response in cystic fibrosis (CF). LAU-7b is a novel oral solid dosage form of fenretinide, an investigational small molecule drug with well-documented history of safety in non-clinical and clinical studies, but that was never commercialized in any country. Preclinical research showed that oral administration of fenretinide corrects the lipid abnormalities in lungs and plasma of specific animal models of CF, resulting in reduced lung inflammation and a dramatic decrease in the severity of pulmonary infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium involved in perpetuating the inflammation-infection vicious cycle in the lungs of CF patients.