AUSTIN, Texas, June 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Savara Pharmaceuticals, an emerging specialty pharmaceutical company developing innovative pulmonary drugs for the treatment of serious and life-threatening conditions, today announced that it has raised $8.6 million in the first closing of a Series B round of financing. The Keiretsu Forum, comprising accredited private equity investors, led the financing with participation from Savara's existing investors.
Savara will use the proceeds from this financing to advance AeroVanc (vancomycin hydrochloride inhalation powder) through a Phase IIa clinical efficacy study. AeroVanc is the first inhaled antibiotic being developed for the treatment of pulmonary methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. The Series B financing was facilitated by positive results in a recently completed Phase I study of AeroVanc in healthy volunteers and CF patients. In this study, AeroVanc was well tolerated and safe, and had an excellent pharmacokinetic profile supporting once- or twice-daily treatment of pulmonary MRSA infection.
"This new financing recognizes the progress we have made in advancing AeroVanc very rapidly through the early product development, including a Phase I clinical study in healthy volunteers and CF patients. The funding will allow us to carry out our planned Phase IIa efficacy trial of AeroVanc in MRSA-infected CF patients, scheduled to start early next year," said Robert Neville, Chief Executive Officer of Savara. "Today, almost one-third of patients with CF are infected with MRSA and the need for an effective therapeutic is urgent. We are grateful for the significant and continued interest among investors in advancing AeroVanc through the clinic for the benefit of all MRSA-infected CF patients."
The Series B financing announced today includes $3.2 million in new funds, $3.5 million in recent bridge funding converting into Series B shares, and an anticipated $1.9 million Emerging Technology Fund equity conversion. Savara anticipates raising additional funds through syndication of the Series B round.
AeroVanc (vancomycin hydrochloride inhalation powder) is a proprietary inhaled dry powder form of vancomycin in a capsule-based device designed for convenient self-administration. Vancomycin administered by IV is the antibiotic of choice for the treatment of MRSA-related bronchopneumonia, however, IV administration, poor penetration into the lungs and systemic toxicities limit its use in a chronic setting. AeroVanc is being developed for the treatment of MRSA infections in cystic fibrosis patients. By delivering vancomycin directly to the site of infection, AeroVanc is expected to improve clinical efficacy and reduce adverse effects due to systemic drug exposure.
AeroVanc has demonstrated positive safety and tolerability results in a Phase I clinical study conducted in healthy subjects and patients with cystic fibrosis, with a pharmacokinetic profile that supports its potential as a once- or twice-daily treatment for pulmonary MRSA infections.
About Cystic Fibrosis and MRSA
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease characterized by the prevalence of thick, sticky mucus produced in the lung, frequent lung infections and a resultant decline in pulmonary function. As the disease progresses, patients' lungs are typically colonized with bacteria that are difficult to eradicate. Such infections are typically treated with inhaled antibiotics, which have become one of the cornerstones in the treatment of cystic fibrosis over the last decade. In recent years, infection and colonization by MRSA has become increasingly common, with a prevalence of almost 30 percent of all cystic fibrosis patients in the United States. Persistent MRSA infection has been found to cause a faster decline in lung function and to be associated with a significantly shortened life expectancy. Currently there is no approved inhaled treatment for MRSA infection in cystic fibrosis patients.
About Savara Pharmaceuticals
Savara Pharmaceuticals is an emerging specialty pharmaceutical company developing innovative pulmonary drugs for the treatment of serious and life-threatening conditions. The company's lead product, AeroVanc (vancomycin hydrochloride inhalation powder), is the first dry powder inhaled antibiotic for the treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in patients with cystic fibrosis.
SOURCE Savara Pharmaceuticals