LONDON, Jan. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Heart Metabolics Limited announced today that it has closed the first tranche of its Series A financing with secured commitments of US$4 million. The proceeds of the Series A round will be used to advance U.S. clinical development of the company's lead drug candidate, perhexiline, for the treatment of heart failure symptoms in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy ("HCM").
Investors in the Series A financing include the Trans Tasman Commercialisation Fund ("TTCF") of Melbourne, Australia and AshHill Investments, LLC of Fort Thomas, Kentucky, United States. Coincident with the financing, Steven R. Smith of AshHill, Andrew O'Brien, Ph.D., and Michael Bettess, Ph.D. of TTCF have joined the Board of Directors of Heart Metabolics along with Peter G. Milner, M.D, who also was also appointed CEO of Heart Metabolics. Dr. Milner is based in the United States. Continuing members of the company's Board of Directors are Mungo Park, Chairman of Heart Metabolics and Executive Chairman of Innovator Capital Limited, and Walter Flamenbaum, M.D., Partner Emeritus at Paul Capital (U.S.).
Among the other persons joining the U.S.-based management team for Heart Metabolics are Philip N. Sussman, Managing Partner at The Channel Group, LLC, who was appointed Chief Financial Officer, and Mary K. Pendergast, former Deputy Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA").
HCM is an inherited defect of heart muscle that occurs due to large deletions in genes that encode key contractile proteins in the heart. These genetic deletions lead to disordered cardiac energy metabolism, enlargement of the heart muscle, obstruction of outflow of blood from the heart, and eventual heart failure. The heart failure due to HCM is difficult to treat and can be fatal. The company's founders, Professor Michael Frenneaux and Dr. Houman Ashrafian, working at major university medical centers in the U.K. discovered that the abnormal cardiac energetics and the heart failure symptoms of HCM could be reversed effectively by treatment with a known drug, perhexiline. In June 2012 the company obtained orphan designation from the FDA for the use of perhexiline as first line treatment for moderate-to-severe heart failure due to HCM. The company has also in-licensed a new chemical entity drug candidate from The University of Adelaide (Australia) for the treatment of heart failure.
"We are glad to have the support of a strong group of biomedical investors in helping us develop this important new treatment for what is otherwise a serious, debilitating, and potentially fatal genetic defect of the heart," commented Dr. Milner. "There are over 120,000 people in the U.S. with HCM who suffer from moderate-to-severe heart failure symptoms. It is these patients who could benefit from this treatment that we are trying to help."
Visit www.heartmetabolics.com for further information.
Heart Metabolics Limited
33 St. James's Square
+44 20 7297 6840
Philip N. Sussman
Heart Metabolics, Inc. (U.S.)
+1 212 769-0916
About AshHill Investments, LLC
AshHill is a private investment company focused on creating value for its members by investing in companies that develop innovative products and services in various stages of research, development, and approval in the emerging biotech and medical device industries. AshHill's executive team works closely with its portfolio companies to help them reach their full potential. Visit www.ashhill.net for further information.
About Innovator Capital Limited
Innovator Capital, a London-based specialist investment bank, served as lead manager of the Heart Metabolics Series A financing. Innovator Capital advises emerging life sciences and cleantech companies from around the world. Established in 2003, Innovator Capital provides expert strategic and capital markets advice, transaction arranging, and M&A services for private and public companies. Visit www.innovator-capital.com for further information.
About the Trans Tasman Commercialisation Fund
TTCF is an Australian-based AU$30 million seed and venture capital fund that invests in opportunities arising from collaborating member universities. The Fund works closely with these universities to develop the commercial potential of new technologies, including but not limited to life sciences, information and communications technology, and engineering/cleantech. TTCF has made recent and successful exits from HaloIPT and Ruga Corporation. Visit www.ttcf.com.au for further information.
SOURCE Heart Metabolics Limited