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UK biotech Pulmocide secures $30m for inhalable lung disease therapies

Published on 20/03/17 at 10:03am

Pulmocide, a UK biotech run by a former GlaxoSmithKline scientists and based in London, has secured $30.4 million in Series B financing to further develop two wholly-owned treatments for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and pulmonary aspergillosis, potentially fatal viral and fungal diseases respectively. 

“Respiratory infections are a significant cause of global morbidity and mortality with a high unmet medical need,” company CEO Garth Rapeport remarked. “Pulmocide is developing bespoke inhaled medicines to provide effective and safe therapies for the treatment of RSV and pulmonary Aspergillosis.”

The first of the firm’s therapies is antiviral agent PC786, a treatment for RSV, a lung-infection that can prove life-threatening to young and premature babies, often leading to other serious illnesses; Rapeport called the disease “an extremely common cause of hospitalisation and a major problem for the NHS when the season strikes in the winter months.” The company is due to present proof of concept data on the agent shortly.

Aspergillosis is a fungal infection which poses a greater risk to patients already suffering from respiratory problems and is “incredibly difficult to treat with oral tablets,” according to Rapeport. “Our approach is to direct the drug to the site of the infection through an inhaler,” he explained.

The wave of funding comes from SV Life Sciences, Johnson & Johnson’s venture capital arm J&J DC, and Touchestone Innovations and F-prime, the venture capital arm of Fidelity. The biotech previously secured $17 million in a previous round of fundraising.

“This Series B fundraising will provide us with the capital to advance our two novel compounds through early clinical development; another step closer to a treatment for patients for these debilitating infections,” commented Rapeport. “We are delighted by the interest we’ve received in this round and would like to thank our new and existing shareholders for their support and continued commitment to Pulmocide.  We look forward to providing further pipeline updates as developments progress with our important programmes.”

Matt Fellows

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