Inozyme founder Axel Bolte is intensifying his faith in his rare-disease upstart’s lead experimental drug by testing it for a second indication focused on disorders characterized by abnormal calcification. An expanded clinical program for the drug — which is being readied for human testing — needs more capital, and the biotech has raised some in a fresh $67 million round, led by Pivotal bioVenture Partners and Sofinnova Investments.
Bolte launched the company with a $49 million round and armed with slate of notable biopharma executives, after running into Yale scientist Demetrios Braddock and his work on calcification in his capacity as an investment advisor for HBM Partners. He spent most of 2016 raising funds, and in 2017 Inozyme was officially born.
The Boston, Massachusetts-based company — which has raised $116 million in venture capital to date — has bet on the role of pyrophosphate, or PPi, in rare, life-threatening disorders that are manifested by the over-calcification of soft tissues and under-mineralization of bone. Armed with this scientific basis Inozyme is developing enzyme replacement therapies using inorganic PPi to treat calcification disorders.
This new infusion will help shepherd its lead enzyme replacement therapy — INZ-701 — into human studies for use in for severe disorders of calcification associated with deficiencies in the enzyme ENPP1, including Generalized Arterial Calcification of Infancy and Autosomal Recessive Hypophosphatemic Rickets Type 2. Inozyme is currently completing IND‑enabling studies for the drug and expects to initiate clinical trials in 2020.
The funds will also be used to test the drug in patients with mutations in the ABCC6 gene, which can lead to a condition known as pseudoxanthoma elasticum.
Inozyme has also added to its pipeline by adding a second research program targeting an undisclosed rare bone disease.
The Series A2 financing also included the participation of RA Capital Management, Cowen Healthcare Investments, Rock Springs Capital, Longitude Capital, NEA, Novo Holdings, and Sanofi Ventures.
Rob Hopfner, managing partner of Pivotal bioVenture Partners, and Sarah Bhagat, principal at Sofinnova Investments, also joined Inozyme’s board.
Image: Axel Bolte. TUROS CAPITAL
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