Proceeds will support the development of new generations of cannabinoid-1 (CB1) receptor inverse agonists for the treatment of several metabolic diseases including Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) and type 1 diabetes (T1D).
MONTREAL (CANADA) – 25 July 2018 – Today Inversago Pharma Inc. (“Inversago”) announced that it has secured a $7 million series A financing to pursue its development plan and advance its CB1 platform as a potent treatment for targeted diseases.
The company’s first financing round was co-led by Genesys Capital and Amorchem, with participation from the JDRF T1D Fund, Accel-Rx, Anges Québec Capital, Anges Québec, Tarnagulla Ventures and angel investors. This funding will enable the company to advance its peripherally-restricted CB1 inverse agonist/antagonist program into clinical trials.
Inversago is developing new generations of CB1 receptor blockers. First generation CB1 blockers were previously in development by other major pharmaceutical companies for a range of metabolic conditions and showed striking efficacy in clinical trials. However, these third-party compounds were centrally-acting and led to psychiatric adverse events which caused the termination of all first generation CB1 inverse agonist programs.
Inversago’s technology, based on the work by CB1 world expert George Kunos at the National Institute of Health (NIH/NIAAA), has demonstrated that in preclinical models, peripherally restricted CB1 blockade provides a clear therapeutic potential to treat conditions like obesity, NASH, liver fibrosis and diabetes, without causing the CNS or behavioural effects associated with the earlier generations of CB1 blockers.
“This is an exciting time for Inversago as we launch operations and pioneer the comeback of CB1 inverse agonists”, announced François Ravenelle, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Inversago. “CB1 blockade has already demonstrated much promise, and we are confident we have the right technology to exploit their full potential, starting with important unmet needs”.
“Clinically validated, biological mechanisms are both rare and valuable in drug development. We look forward to supporting Inversago as it evaluates its novel chemistry across a breadth of potential metabolic indications”, commented Jamie Stiff, Partner at Genesys Capital. “The clear demonstration of peripheral action with very low brain occupancy shapes the path toward the reinstated first-in-class therapeutics for several unmet medical needs”, added Elizabeth Douville, Managing Partner at AmorChem.
Also, research in the past several years has shown that pancreatic β-cells express CB1 receptors and that blocking these receptors positively influences insulin secretory function and, importantly, also promotes β-cell proliferation and survival under diabetic conditions.
“JDRF has long recognized the potential of CB1 blockade for type 1 diabetes, as a potential first b-cell targeted therapy for this condition. We are excited to invest and strategically support Inversago as it develops new oral drugs which have the potential to be a game-changer for the community,” said Jonathan Behr, Managing Director at the JDRF T1D Fund.
About Inversago Pharma
A specialized, preclinical-stage biotech company, Inversago Pharma develops new generations of peripherally-restricted cannabinoid-1 receptor (CB1) inverse agonists/antagonists for the treatment of Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), type 1 diabetes (T1D), obesity and other metabolic disorders such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Inversago’s technology addresses limits associated with first generation CB1 blockers, allowing the Company to exploit their full medical potential.
About Genesys Capital
Genesys Capital (www.genesyscapital.com) is one of the largest Canadian-based venture capital firms exclusively focused on the life sciences industry. Genesys is focused on building companies in the high-growth sectors of healthcare and biotechnology. Through its expertise and network, Genesys accelerates the development of commercially viable emerging companies that represent promising life sciences investment opportunities.
AmorChem (www.amorchem.com) is a leading, early-stage, venture capital fund located in Montreal focused on creating promising life science companies from technologies originating primarily from Quebec-based universities and research centres. With 87M$ under management, AmorChem targets disruptive technologies which provide huge impact on patients’ health and foster their path up to clinical stage.
About JDRF T1D Fund
The JDRF T1D Fund (www.t1dfund.org) is a venture philanthropy fund accelerating life-changing solutions to treat, prevent and cure type 1 diabetes (T1D) through catalytic commercial investments. Through its investments in partnership with private capital, including venture capital, corporations and foundations, the T1D Fund seeks to attract the private investment necessary to advance drugs, devices, diagnostics, and vaccines into the hands of those living with T1D. The T1D Fund invests in areas strategically aligned with JDRF, the leading global organization funding T1D research, with an exclusive focus on supporting the best commercial opportunities. The T1D Fund will reinvest any realized gains into new investments to further its mission.
François Ravenelle, PhD
CEO & Founder
Inversago Pharma Inc.