Corsair raises $23M to support testing of treprostinil skin patch

Patch seen as a noninvasive option for a PAH medication in wide use

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by Andrea Lobo |

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Corsair Pharma has secured $23 million in financing to support clinical testing of a skin patch for the delivery of treprostinil to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), the company announced.

The transdermal patch is intended to provide continuous and consistent levels of treprostinil, similar to those achieved with an infusion pump. It delivers an inactive prodrug of the medication, approved to treat PAH, that can cross the skin, reach the blood, and be converted into treprostinil in the liver, the company reports.

Corsair also expects that its skin patch can be used to treat other types of pulmonary hypertension.

“We believe that a combination of our proprietary prodrug and transdermal patch technologies represents a unique opportunity to provide a potentially superior treatment option for PAH,” Bobby Singh, PhD, Corsair’s president, director, and CEO, said in a press release.

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“With the proceeds of this Series B round now in hand, we look forward to advancing our program into the clinic in order to demonstrate the value proposition of this novel delivery approach in the treatment of PAH,” Singh added.

In PAH, the narrowing of the pulmonary arteries — blood vessels that carry blood to the lungs — causes a restriction in blood flow, leading to high blood pressure and poor oxygen transport through the body.

Treprostinil is a lab-made version of prostacyclin, a naturally occurring molecule that induces the widening of blood vessels, designed to improve blood flow through the lungs and increase bodywide oxygen availability.

The therapy targets three key processes in PAH. It binds to endothelial cells — which line blood vessels — and induces vasodilation, prevents the aggregation of platelets that further blocks arteries, and it inhibits the growth of smooth muscle cells that result in blood vessel constriction.

Treprostinil is available in several formulations, including subcutaneous (under the skin) and intravenous (into the vein) infusions marketed as Remodulin, extended-release oral tablets called Orenitram, and an inhaled solution known as Tyvaso. These formulations are marketed by United Therapeutics. Generic versions of Remodulin also have been approved.

United Therapeutics partnered with Corsair in 2018 to develop the treprostinil skin patch. According to Corsair, its noninvasive and once daily route of treatment administration is highly effective and supports fast dose adjustments.

The financing was led by New Rhein Healthcare Investors, with Junson Capital, Primavera Capital, Plaisance Capital, and Midas Capital joining as co-investors.

“The transdermal patch version of Treprostinil is designed to provide an alternative treatment option for physicians and patients and represents a significant market opportunity in a growing PAH market,” said Ivan Gergel, New Rhein Healthcare Investors’ managing partner and chief medical officer.

“We are delighted to partner with the experienced management team of Corsair Pharma who has previously developed and commercialized a number of transdermal products in different therapeutic areas,” Gergel added.

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