MONTREAL, Oct. 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ - Laurent Pharmaceuticals Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing LAU-7b (oral fenretinide) first-in-class pro-resolving drug for Cystic Fibrosis (CF), today announced new financing led by Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic, Anges Quebec and Anges Quebec Capital, with participation from existing investors RSJ Gradus, Aligo Innovation, and Cystic Fibrosis Canada. Members from other Keiretsu Forum chapters also invested, as well as a select group of new and existing private individuals.
"We are thrilled to see so many great investors embracing our mission", said Radu Pislariu, MD, President and CEO of Laurent Pharmaceuticals. "This new investment, together with the US$ 5M Development Award from US Cystic Fibrosis Foundation announced earlier this year, allows us to build on the progress made in developing LAU-7b, which we believe has the potential to make a life-changing impact for patients with CF".
The Company also announces two posters featuring new important findings with fenretinide in CF, presented by McGill University at the 32nd North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference, held in Denver, October 18-20 (NACFC 2018). The data, reported by Drs Danuta Radzioch and John Hanrahan research groups, shows fenretinide's potential to modulate the CFTR functional response and mucin secretion under stress conditions, establishing an important link between inflammation and the basic defect in CF. Fenretinide's effect on CFTR expression was significantly enhanced in the presence of a CFTR corrector.
"This is a major breakthrough discovery for our LAU-7b program in CF, said Dr Jean-Marie Houle, B.Pharm, PhD, the Company's Vice-President of Clinical Development. We knew fenretinide's ability to trigger the resolution mechanism of inflammation, which is profoundly downregulated in CF, but protecting the CFTR function adds a new dimension to LAU-7b, suggesting a double mode of action and a potentiating effect on CFTR modulators. We are extremely excited about this discovery by McGill, which is also timely as we are recruiting patients in the Phase 2 trial.
Copies of both posters are accessible on the company's website at the following link:
LAU-7b: a new treatment paradigm for cystic fibrosis
LAU-7b is a first-in-class pro-resolving therapy that has the potential to treat chronic pulmonary inflammation that leads to irreversible lung damage in patients with CF, regardless of their CFTR genotype. As opposed to typical anti-inflammatory drugs that inhibit the activation phase of inflammation, LAU-7b triggers body's own pro-resolving mechanism to terminate inflammation without interfering with natural defense. More recently, LAU-7b was shown to enhance specific lipid micro-domains in the membrane of airways cells affected by CF, resulting in an increase in functional CFTR expression under cell stress, a self-protective mechanism that was further improved by co-administration of a CFTR corrector.
Laurent Pharmaceuticals is currently recruiting patients for its Phase 2 safety and efficacy study in adult patients with CF. The goal of the Phase 2 trial is to evaluate LAU-7b's effect on the preservation of lung function, by reducing persistent unresolved inflammation in the lung and stimulating its return to homeostasis. The study will enroll 136 adults with CF for treatment duration of 6 months, and will involve more than 30 clinical sites in USA and Canada.
About Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic Fibrosis ("CF") is a progressive, life-threatening, genetic disease affecting about 75,000 people worldwide. CF is caused by various mutations in the CFTR gene and is characterized by viscous secretions in different exocrine tissues and an aberrant inflammatory response leading to chronic pulmonary infection and loss in lung function over time. Severe pulmonary dysfunction is the primary cause of death in CF.
LAU-7b (fenretinide) is a once-a-day oral pro-resolving therapy, a new class of drugs that triggers the resolution phase of inflammation, which is responsible for healing and return to homeostasis after a bacterial attack or injury. LAU-7b works by endogenously modulating the metabolism of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an essential fatty acid involved in the resolution of inflammation. Previous preclinical work at McGill University demonstrated the ability of fenretinide to restore DHA in a specific CF animal model of chronic inflammation, resulting in reduced lung inflammation, improved lung physiology and increased clearance of pulmonary infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium involved in perpetuating the vicious cycle of inflammation-infection. Results from a recent Phase 1b clinical trial in adult patients with CF have shown LAU-7b to have good safety and pharmacokinetic profiles, coupled with promising pharmacodynamics on specific markers of inflammation.
About Laurent Pharmaceuticals
Laurent Pharmaceuticals is a Canada-based clinical stage company focusing on chronic inflammatory diseases. Laurent's lead drug candidate, LAU-7b, is a first-in-class pro-resolving drug addressing the compromised immune-inflammatory response in cystic fibrosis, a critical but still unaddressed pathogenic pathway leading to pulmonary insufficiency in patients with CF. For more information, please visit www.laurentpharma.com.