Endocrine-focused biotech gets new cash for its peptides, with dreams of launching a franchise
On the hunt for a pipeline that keeps on giving, a veteran group of endocrinologists have earned new backers for a biotech it thinks can offer a target-rich environment for peptide drugs.
Amolyt Pharma has put together an $80 million Series B, the French-American biotech announced, aiming mainly to push forward research into rare endocrine diseases and its lead program for hypoparathyroidism. The round comes a little more than two years after the company’s Series A and about two weeks before Amolyt unveils new data for that lead candidate.
CEO Thierry Abribat told Endpoints News in an interview that Amolyt is the third biotech he’s founded, with the previous two being acquired by Big Pharma companies. But this time around, he and his team have more of a stretch goal in mind.
“We’re very focused on the endocrine field because the long term vision is this portfolio could become a franchise,” Abribat told Endpoints. “Because we’re working with endocrinologists, at some point when the first product reaches approval, we can commercialize it and have the follow-on products being commercialized by the same commercial Phase IV.”
In order to enact what it hopes is a winning strategy, Amolyt is focusing solely on developing peptides to treat the endocrine diseases, Abribat added. Many conditions Amolyt wants to target deal with hormone excesses or deficiencies, and peptides are uniquely equipped to treat such diseases.
The lead program, known as AZP-3601, is an analogue of the parathyroid hormone. Patients with hypoparathyroidism experience low calcium levels in the blood, and AZP-3601 targets a specific receptor to get calcium levels back to normal.
Normally, those dealing with this disease take supplements throughout the day, a symptomatic treatment that may work for a short period but over time causes calcium levels to bounce around wildly, Abribat said. Where Amolyt hopes to step in is by treating the underlying processes of the disease and reducing patients’ reliance on calcium supplements.
Some hypoparathyroidism patients’ calcium levels are bad enough to where they develop kidney problems — about 25%, Abribat said — and accumulate too much calcium in urine. Others may suffer from low bone mass.
The data Amolyt will reveal in a few weeks come from a multiple ascending dose study in healthy volunteers, where the biotech hopes to show calcium levels in the serum can be stable while taking the experimental drug. Amolyt has already started enrolling a trial in hypoparathyroidism patients, with data expected in mid-2022.
To further broaden the pipeline, the biotech also previously signed a collaboration with Japanese biopharma Peptidream, and earlier this month exercised an option to license a variety of macrocyclic peptide growth hormone receptor antagonists. One of the programs coming out of this agreement will seek to treat acromegaly in combination with somatostatin analogues.
All eyes are turning toward the AZP-3601 data release, slated for Oct. 1. Should the results prove positive, Abribat hopes they can launch Amolyt to greater heights in the endocrine field.
“We don’t really have a technology platform in the company, the platform is the people who have been working in endocrinology for a very long time,” Abribat said.
Thursday’s financing was co-led by Sectoral Asset Management and Andera Partners, with participation from ATEM Capital and all investors from the company’s July 2019 Series A financing. That group included LSP, Novo Ventures, Kurma Partners, Mass General Brigham Ventures, Innobio 2, OrbiMed, Pontifax, Eurazeo, Sham Innovation, Santé/Turenne Capital and Credit Agricole Creation.