Ex-GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Scientists' Pulmocide Hauls in $30.4 Million
3/20/2017 7:35:32 AM
March 20, 2017
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
London, UK-based Pulmocide announced today that it had completed a $30.4 million Series B financing. It was led by new investor SR One and included Longwood Fund, as well as existing investors SV Life Sciences, F-Prime Capital, Johnson & Johnson Innovation (JNJ)—JJDC, and Touchstone Innovations.
Pulmocide was formed in 2013 and currently has 10 employees. Most of its staff worked together at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in the 1990s and early 2000s, and were behind Respivert, which was bought by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) in 2010 for about $100 million. Garth Rapeport is the company’s chief executive officer.
Pulmocide is based at Imperial College’s innovation hub in London’s South Kensington. The company’s Series A round was for $17 million. Rapeport was a senior vice president with GlaxoSmithKline from 2000 to 2006, and director of Clinical Pharmacology for Pfizer (PFE) from 1988 to 1996. Most recently he was chief executive officer of Respivert from 2007 to 2013, and a visiting professor at the Imperial College London’s National Heart and Lung Institute.
“Our success with Respivert has put us in touch with top tier investors,” Rapeport told The Telegraph.
Pulmocide’s focus is on developing therapeutics for inhaled delivery to treat respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and pulmonary aspergillosis. The proceeds from the financing round will allow them to progress their assets through early clinical development.
The company says it’s on track to release proof of concept data in RSV with its inhaled RSV antiviral agent, PC786 in human RSV challenge and in infants that have been hospitalized with bronchiolitis due to RSV infection. It also plans to move PC945, an azole antifungal to treat pulmonary Aspergillosis, including fungal asthma, pulmonary Aspergilloma, Aspergillus infections in lung transplant recipients and patients with cystic fibrosis.
“Respiratory infections are a significant cause of global morbidity and mortality with a high unmet medical need,” said Rapeport, in a statement. “Pulmocide is developing bespoke inhaled medicines to provide effective and safe therapies for the treatment of RSV and pulmonary Aspergillosis.”
“Pulmocide’s core asset is the management team’s proprietary expertise in the design of highly potent compounds with extended lung retention time and limited systemic exposure,” said Matthew Foy, part at SR One, in a statement. “This has enabled the development of two anti-infective drugs for serious diseases of the lung, where an inhaled therapy should deliver the optimal clinical outcome. SR One is excited to be joining such a strong syndicate of investors to support Pulmocide as it progresses both programmes towards clinical proof of concept.”
The Telegraph notes that Pulmocide’s news is positive for Britain’s life science industry, which is “a major focus of investment in the Government’s industrial strategy.”
Another recent investment was the £100 million listing of Arix Bioscience (ARIX) on the stock market, backed by Sir Christopher Evans, a British biotech entrepreneur.
“The environment for funding has definitely improved,” Rapeport told The Telegraph. “There are more U.S. and European entities looking for top teams and clinical assets in which to invest.”
Rapeport said in a statement, “This Series B fundraising will provide us with the capital to advance our two novel compounds through early clinical development; another step closer to a treatment for patients for these debilitating infections. We are delighted by the interest we’ve received in this round and would like to thank our new and existing shareholders for their support and continued commitment to Pulmocide.”
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