PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals has secured $34 million in Series D financing to advance the clinical development of PB1046, an investigational therapy for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), as well as its lead product candidate PB2452, the company announced in a press release.
PB1046 is being developed as a once-weekly treatment for PAH. It is based on PhaseBio’s proprietary elastin-like polypeptide (ELP) technology. This technology is designed to increase the time that medications stay in the body before they are broken down, so they can be administered less frequently.
PhaseBio’s PB1046 is a fusion of the vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) to the ELP biopolymer. It mimics the activity of naturally occurring VIP — which is a potent vasodilator — and exerts its effects by binding to the receptors VPAC1 and VPAC2, proteins that are present in blood vessels in the lungs, heart muscle, and systemic and coronary arteries.
“PhaseBio has the potential to bring life-saving therapies to patients with orphan cardiopulmonary diseases,” said Clay B. Thorp, executive chairman of PhaseBio. “In addition, with PB1046 and future product candidates based on our elastin-like polypeptide (“ELP”) technology, PhaseBio has the potential to build a significant pipeline in the orphan disease space.”
PB1046 was found to be highly effective in a preclinical model of PAH, according to the company. PhaseBio is now conducting a Phase 1 clinical trial (NCT03315507) in PAH patients to evaluate PB1046’s safety, tolerability, and circulation in the blood.
Additionally, the company plans to begin a Phase 2 trial of PB1046 in PAH patients during the third quarter of 2018.
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PhaseBio is also developing PB2452, an inhibitor of the anti-platelet effects of a medication called ticagrelor — which is usually taken for the prevention of a stroke or heart attack in patients with specific cardiovascular conditions. In emergency situations, PB2452 can reverse ticagrelor’s activity, avoiding severe bleeding.
Cormorant Asset Management, Mountain Group Partners, and Rock Springs Capital are new investors that took part in the new financing secured by PhaseBio. Hatteras Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Syno Capital, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson Innovation — JJDC, and Fletcher Spaght Ventures continued their investment in the company.
“We are encouraged by the enthusiasm of our new and existing investors for the potential of our clinical programs and our proprietary ELP technology platform,” said Jonathan P. Mow, CEO of PhaseBio. “We look forward to the readout of data from the Phase 1 study of PB2452, exploring partnership opportunities for our drug products outside of the U.S. and dosing patients in the Phase 2 study of our second product candidate, PB1046, in patients with PAH shortly. In addition, we plan to continue to leverage our ELP technology to expand our development pipeline.”
PhaseBio is also testing PB1046 as a potential treatment for cardiomyopathy, heart failure, and cystic fibrosis.