ReViral Closes $55 Million Series B to Advance RSV Treatment
London-based ReViral announced the completion of a Series B financing worth $55 million. The financing was jointly led by New Leaf Venture Partners and Novo Ventures, part of Novo Holdings, with new investors Perceptive Advisors. Existing investors also participated, including Andera Partners, OrbiMed and Brace Pharma Capital.
ReViral focuses on diseases caused by the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). The funds will be used to advance its lead product candidate RV521, a potential treatment for RSV infections, into Phase IIa clinical trials for children and adults. It will also be used to continue developing a novel series of antiviral inhibitors that target RSV replication. RV521 will start an international multi-center Phase IIa trial soon. The company plans to follow it with more trials in adult stem cell transplant patients.
“We are excited to welcome our new investors to the company,” said Ken Powell, executive chairman of the board, in a statement. “This financing by top-tier funds is a validation of ReViral’s scientific approach to discovering and developing novel antiviral therapies for RSV, a significant unmet medical need. This milestone also demonstrates the significant progress made by the ReViral team since completing its Series A fundraise of $21 million in September 2015.”
As part of the financing, Isaac Manke, partner at New Leaf, and Nanna Luneborg, partner at Novo Ventures, will be joining the ReViral board of directors.
RSV is a significant respiratory pathogen, causing 30 million infections annually, with an estimated 200,000 deaths each year in children under five years of age. There are no approved therapies available. In most people, RSV causes mild cold symptoms, but in people with suppressed immune systems or small children, it can cause a fatal illness.
“There are at present no approved therapies for RSV except a monoclonal antibody for at-risk babies,” Eddy Littler, chief executive officer of ReViral, told Labiotech. “Thus, for the majority of babies and adults, there are no specific treatments and only supportive care is given.”
Of the upcoming clinical trials, Littler told Labiotech, “The clinical studies will be phased during 2019. The initial studies have been targeted at patients with the largest clinical need, which are pediatrics and the immune compromised. Other populations include adults with comorbidities such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which will be covered during further development of the drug.”
Other companies focusing on RSV infections include Bavarian Nordic in Denmark, which has completed Phase II clinical trials for an RSV vaccine, and Belgium’s Ablynx (now owned by Paris-based Sanofi), which is currently running a Phase IIb clinical trial in children using a nanobody therapy delivered through an inhaler.
In February, ReViral reported successful results from its Phase IIa placebo-controlled challenge trial in healthy adults infected intranasally with RSV. It evaluated RV521 in this patient group, and hit all primary and secondary endpoints, including significantly reducing viral load, reducing total mucus weight, and decreasing clinical symptoms, compared to placebo.
At the time, John DeVincenzo, professor of Pediatrics and professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Biochemistry at the University of Tennessee School of Medicine, said in a statement, “RSV infection in children, the immunocompromised and the elderly causes serious disease and there is a significant unmet medical need for treatment. Based on the reductions in RSV viral load and clinical symptoms, as well as the safety profile observed in this adult challenge study, clinical trials in naturally infected patients should now be expedited.”