Venture

Corbus Pharma reels in $25M to pay for its PhIIb cystic fibrosis study, shares sink

On Monday Corbus Pharmaceuticals touted a deal with the FDA to limit the primary goal of its Phase IIb trial for lenabasum as a new therapy for cystic fibrosis to a single target for the event rate of pulmonary exacerbations. Today, the Norwood, MA-based biotech $CRBP is telling us that they reeled in $25 million to pay for the study.

The cash, says Corbus, is coming from The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. A spokesperson for the company says the foundation is making an award of the money, but also gets warrants for its investment. The CF patient group also provided $5 million to help pay for the Phase II.

James Chmiel

Researchers will now begin recruiting 415 patients to see if they can prove that the drug can quell pulmonary exacerbations, relegating the standard FEV1 to a secondary endpoint.

From Corbus’ perspective, that will simplify the process and could increase the odds of success. The trial will test the dug’s effect for 6 months.

The therapy — which delivered positive Phase II data in CF last March — is also in a late-stage study for systemic sclerosis.

Corbus, though, has attracted plenty of short interest in the stock, which has been hammered by criticism over the Phase II results. The chatter online centered on a lack of effect on FEV1 and a positive result that was based on a handful of cases — something the critics say won’t work in a large study.

That attack case has influenced investors today, with Corbus shares down 12% in the afternoon.

“New treatments are essential, given most adolescent and adult patients have at least one episode per year,” noted the co-principal investigator James Chmiel in a statement.


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