LONDON and PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- AMO Pharma Limited ("AMO Pharma"), a privately held biopharmaceutical company focusing on debilitating diseases with limited or no treatment options, announced today that the company has raised $25 million in private equity financing from Woodford Investment Management ("Woodford"). This initial investment came from the Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT). Funding will support Company efforts to advance two clinical-stage pipeline assets targeting rare muscular and central nervous system disorders. The financing will also be used to expand the AMO Pharma pipeline through acquisition of additional development-stage products.
"Following our successful acquisition of two promising compounds, our financing with Woodford provides us with the resources we need to continue to rapidly advance our clinical development programs while also positioning us to further expand our pipeline. Our current development programs focus on two devastating rare diseases – myotonic dystrophy and fragile X syndrome – both of which have limited treatment options and represent significant commercial opportunities in drug development," said Michael Snape, chief executive officer and a founding director of AMO Pharma. "We are especially pleased that the team at Woodford, a global leader in life science investments, has recognized the strong potential for success in both our assets and our business model at AMO Pharma."
In early 2016, AMO Pharma plans to initiate a Phase II clinical trial for the company's lead product candidate, AMO-02, in the treatment of a severe form of myotonic dystrophy (DM) known as DM1 or Steinert's disease. Myotonic dystrophy is a genetic disorder that causes skeletal and muscle weakness and dysfunction, cognitive deficits, as well as symptoms affecting other organs in the body. There are currently no approved therapies to treat DM1. In cellular and animal models of DM1 myotonic and Duchenne muscular dystrophy, as well as in muscle biopsies from patients, activity of glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (GSK3β) has been shown to increase. AMO-02 is an inhibitor of GSK3β that has demonstrated pre-clinical efficacy in transgenic models and reversal of muscle cell deficits in patient tissue ex vivo.
AMO Pharma also plans to initiate a clinical program in fragile X syndrome with a second product candidate, AMO-01. According to the FRAXA Research Foundation, fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited cause of autism and intellectual disabilities. AMO-01 is an inhibitor of the ras-extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway (Ras-ERK). In pre-clinical efficacy studies, AMO-01 rescued the neuronal phenotype of the Fmr1 knockout transgenic mouse model of fragile X syndrome, further supporting the hypothesis that inhibition of the Ras-ERK cascade may have therapeutic benefit in this disease.
Lisa Wittmer, chief operating officer and head of portfolio development at AMO Pharma, elaborated, "Drug developers must be able to identify, de-risk and rapidly advance promising therapies that address significant unmet needs. The team and business model developed by AMO Pharma have the clear potential to deliver important new therapies to treat diseases in underserved patient populations in the years ahead. We plan to advance our first two programs while aggressively acquiring additional high value assets attractive for development and partnering or commercialization."
About AMO Pharma
AMO Pharma is a biopharmaceutical company incorporated in February of 2015. The co-founder, Dr. Michael Snape, has extensive experience in senior scientific and operational roles in both large pharma and biotech companies spanning more than twenty five years, and has brought together a targeted and experienced senior management team with a proven track record of success in all phases of product development and acquisition. The company is working to identify and advance promising therapies for the treatment of serious and debilitating diseases in patient populations with significant areas of unmet need, including rare genetic diseases. AMO Pharma is currently advancing two investigational therapies for treatment of fragile X syndrome and myotonic dystrophy, and is in the process of licensing additional development-stage products in diverse areas including autism and other CNS disorders.
About Woodford Investment Management
Woodford Investment Management LLP is a fast-growing asset management company built on a founding philosophy of transparency and simplicity. Launched in May 2014, the company has more than £12bn assets under management and advice. Further information can be found at https://woodfordfunds.com.
About Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT)
Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) is the £800 million investment trust launched earlier this year by Woodford Investment Management. WPCT is managed by Neil Woodford, widely considered to be one of the UK's leading fund managers over the past 25 years. The trust invests mainly in early-stage and early-growth companies but also has exposure to some blue-chip companies too.
Lisa Wittmer, PhD
Chief Operating Officer
Head, Portfolio Development
AMO Pharma Ltd.
Berry & Company Public Relations
SOURCE AMO Pharma Limited