Novartis vets get $35M to pluck one of the pharma giant’s abandoned drugs off the shelf and put it back into a clinical trial
Back in 2006, Novartis execs scooped up rights to Kyorin’s immunosuppressant drug program for KRP-203, an S1P drug that the pharma giant initially thought had some real potential.
But Mayzent (siponimod) ultimately stole the S1P show at Novartis, which would go on to win a first-in-class FDA OK in multiple sclerosis, with KRP-203 abandoned along the way still in early-stage development.
Now 2 former Novartis execs, Florent Gros and Dhaval Patel, have rounded up a syndicate willing to bet that KRP-203 — or mocravimod — is worth the effort after all. They’ve created Priothera Limited — based in Dublin — with a €30 million launch round led by Fountain Healthcare Partners with participation from co-lead investor HealthCap and funds managed by Tekla Capital Management, LLC as well as EarlyBird Venture Capital.
That money will go for a highly targeted trial aimed at hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for treating acute myeloid leukemia. And they already have some human data indicating potential for both AML and acute lymphocytic leukemia.
Going back through the Novartis web site, you can see that they decided to terminate the drug program for “strategic reasons.”
That leaves the founders with a decent shot at proving the early data snapshot could well be worth an approval at some point.
“Mocravimod is an outstanding, well-characterized and well-behaved S1P receptor modulator that is well-suited for clinical development and commercial manufacturing,” noted Patel in a prepared statement. “Based on the clinical results to date, mocravimod has the potential to be a best-in-class therapy to decrease the morbidity and mortality associated with HSCT for AML.”