PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals has secured $15.6 million in funds to develop its pipeline for orphan drugs led by PB1046, which is designed to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), heart failure, cardiomyopathy and cystic fibrosis.
Silicon Valley Bank is loaning PhaseBio $7.5 million, to be allocated in increments subject to certain milestones. The remaining $8.1 million comes in the form of investments by AstraZeneca, New Enterprise Associates, Johnson & Johnson Innovation-JJDC, Hatteras Venture Partners, Fletcher Spaght Ventures and Syno Capital.
PhaseBio, based in Malvern, Pennsylvania, says its lead development candidate, PB1046, is a first-in-class vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) receptor agonist in development to treat PAH.
VIP is a naturally occurring neuropeptide. These are factors released from nerve cells that transmit signals to the body, or else act as hormones. VIP has multiple effects regulated by its receptors on cells, called VPAC1 and VPAC2. They are present on cells in blood vessels in the lungs, heart muscle tissues and arteries.
PB1046 is a genetically engineered fusion of a VIP analogue to PhaseBio’s ELP biopolymer. ELP is a molecule that carries the VIP analogue and prolongs its activity in circulation.
“In addition to the commitment from our current investors, this new loan facility strengthens our financial position in support of recently reported milestones, including the dosing of our lead therapy PB1046 in an exploratory study for pulmonary arterial hypertension and the diversification of our pipeline” John Sharp, chief financial officer of PhaseBio, said in a press release. “We are pleased to expand our relationship with Silicon Valley Bank and anticipate that this extended runway will enable us to further deliver on our goals, by supporting the initiation of a Phase 2 study for PB1046.”
PhaseBio is currently conducting an exploratory, individually dose-titrated study (NCT03315507) in patients PAH and expects to initiate a larger, placebo-controlled Phase 2 study of PB1046 in PAH patients during the first half of 2018.
“PhaseBio is developing compelling therapies that have the potential to provide new and improved treatments for patients suffering from orphan disorders,” said Scott McCarty, director at Silicon Valley Bank. “We are excited to partner with PhaseBio and look forward to advance its corporate strategy.”