Novartis joins $17m funding of chronic inflammatory disease startup

pharmafile | September 14, 2016 | News story | Research and Development Fountain Healthcare, Novartis, start up financing 

Novartis was one of the co-leaders in the $17million series A financing of Irish startup in the development of chronic inflammatory diseases.

Novartis Venture Fund, the venture capital arm of the Swiss pharma company, and Fountain Healthcare put up the sum to fund Dublin-based Inflazome, a joint collaboration between Matthew Cooper, a chemist and cofounder of two other biotechs, and Luke O’Neill, a professor of biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin. The company has plans to develop inhibitors of the inflammasome, a biological target that regulates our immune response.

“Inflammasome activation is now implicated in many diseases driven by chronic inflammation, from Parkinson’s to Asthma,” CEO Dr Cooper stated. “These conditions are often inadequately treated by current therapies. We want to help people with debilitating diseases facing limited or no treatment options.”

Professor O’Neill, CSO added: “Animal models and clinical data suggests there is tremendous opportunity to stop the cycle of chronic inflammation in a range of diseases. We believe that targeting the inflammasome has tremendous potential for a wide range of inflammatory diseases where current treatments are ineffective.”

Representatives from each financier joined the Board of Directors; Florent Gros, managing director of Novartis Venture Fund and Dr Manus Rogan, co-founder and managing director at Fountain Healthcare.

“Considering the breadth and depth of possible applications, the commercial potential for a successful small molecule inhibitor of this key target is clearly in the billions of dollars range,” commented Rogan, while Gros added: “We have searched extensively for inhibitors of the inflammasome. We are very excited by Inflazome’s prospects; the company has outstanding assets, expertise and capabilities.”

Matt Fellows

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