SAN DIEGO, Jan. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Elevation Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced today the closing of a $30 million Series B financing, led by new investor Novo Ventures, to fund development of Elevation's new aerosol therapy for patients living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). All previous investors participated in the round, including Canaan Partners, TPG Biotech, Care Capital and Mesa Verde Venture Partners. In conjunction with this financing, Elevation has added Heath Lukatch, Ph.D., a Partner in Novo Ventures, Novo A/S, to its board of directors.
A currently-marketed long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) bronchodilator is the standard of care for treating moderate-to-severe COPD, but no LAMAs are approved for use in a nebulizer, which is the preferred delivery device for patients with more severe disease. Elevation's lead product candidate, EP-101, is believed to be the only nebulized LAMA being developed for COPD. EP-101 is a proprietary inhalation solution formulation of glycopyrrolate that is being delivered by an investigational eFlow® Nebulizer System by PARI Pharma GmbH.
"We believe that Elevation Pharmaceuticals' EP-101 will provide a much needed new treatment option for an underserved segment of the COPD patient population. EP-101 has already demonstrated improved lung function in multiple human clinical trials and Elevation's management team has a successful track record of developing drugs using new delivery technologies. Novo Ventures is very pleased to be able to support Elevation's efforts to improve the lives of COPD patients with our investment in the company's Series B financing," said Dr. Lukatch.
Elevation has completed enrollment of its multi-center Phase 2b clinical trial, GOLDEN-1 (Glycopyrrolate for Obstructive Lung Disease via Electronic Nebulizer), to evaluate EP-101 in patients with moderate-to-severe COPD. A second Phase 2b study is planned for 2012 in order to confirm the optimal dose and dosing regimen for Phase 3 studies. The Series B financing will allow Elevation to complete all activities sufficient to initiate Phase 3 studies by the end of 2013.
COPD patients with advanced disease often have poor coordination and breathing capacity, and therefore don't benefit from dry powder or metered dose inhalers. Nebulizer therapy is the preferred delivery method for these patients because they can receive a full dose, regardless of their disease state. Unfortunately, medicines currently available for nebulization have a high treatment burden involving 2-4 doses per day and treatment times of 10-15 minutes per dose using traditional table top jet nebulizers, often leading to poor compliance and therefore poor clinical outcomes. Elevation's optimized drug delivered with the portable, easy-to-use eFlow device provides a once-daily therapy with a treatment time of only about 2 minutes, significantly improving the standard of care for the large underserved population of COPD patients not adequately treated by inhalers.
"We frequently hear pulmonologists say, if a nebulized long-acting muscarinic antagonist were available, they'd have the optimal medicine delivered in the optimal device for their patients with more severe COPD. Significantly improving the standard of care for this large and growing subpopulation of COPD patients is what motivates Elevation and our group of outstanding investors," said Bill Gerhart, President and CEO of Elevation Pharmaceuticals.
About Novo Ventures
Novo A/S is the holding company of the Novo Group, and is wholly owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. Novo A/S was established in 1999 to manage the assets of the Foundation and actively make investments on behalf of the Foundation. Novo Ventures is recognized as a leader within life sciences venture capital. Novo is active in both Europe and North America. The Novo Ventures team consists of four Partners in Copenhagen, one in London and three in San Francisco. With an evergreen structure, Novo A/S annually invests approximately $100-120 million in venture capital into private life sciences companies, and thus acts at a pace comparable to a traditional $400-500 million fund. Novo A/S is not a corporate strategic fund; the group invests for financial rather than strategic returns. In total Novo A/S has more than $20 billion under management, which includes significant shareholdings in the independently operating and publicly listed companies Novo Nordisk A/S and Novozymes A/S.
About Elevation Pharmaceuticals
Elevation Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company developing new inhaled therapies for patients with respiratory disease. The company's initial focus is on developing novel therapies for the underserved population of COPD patients not able to effectively control their disease with dry powder or metered dose inhalers. Elevation's lead drug candidate is EP-101, an inhalation solution formulation of glycopyrrolate, a long-acting muscarinic antagonist bronchodilator, in Phase 2 studies for the improved treatment of patients with moderate to severe COPD. Elevation is headquartered in San Diego, California.
SOURCE Elevation Pharmaceuticals, Inc.