Quiet CinCor Pharma makes some noise with $143M, new trial plans for blood pressure drug
CinCor Pharma has been fairly quiet since emerging in the hypertension space a couple of years ago with a former Roche program in tow. Not anymore.
On Tuesday, the Cincinnati-based biotech unwrapped a $143 million Series B round led by General Atlantic. And judging by the size of the raise and the syndicate of blue-chip investors, it seems likely that CEO Marc de Garidel has the S-1 papers ready to go.
CinCor’s lead program is an oral aldosterone synthase inhibitor called CIN-107, which founder Jon Isaacsohn licensed from Roche for an undisclosed amount back in 2019. Aldosterone, a hormone linked to increased blood pressure, has long been a target of interest for the treatment of hypertension. Selectivity, however, has been a challenge.
Other companies like Mineralys and PhaseBio have emerged with candidates to inhibit CYP11B2, an enzyme responsible for aldosterone synthesis. But the difficulty lies in doing so without also inhibiting another enzyme in proximity called CYP11B1, which controls the synthesis of cortisol. Reducing cortisol essentially counters the blood pressure lowering effect of aldosterone reduction.
Like the teams at Mineralys and PhaseBio, CinCor claims CIN-107 is “highly selective.” It’s currently in two Phase II trials for treatment-resistant hypertension and primary aldosteronism, the former of which kicked off last October. The Series B cash will be used to complete those trials, and initiate two new ones in patients with uncontrolled hypertension and chronic kidney disease. The company declined an interview request by Endpoints News.
“Despite the availability of multiple anti-hypertensive agents, often used in combination, a substantial number of adherent hypertensive patients are not able to reduce their blood pressures to optimal levels,” Isaacsohn said in a statement last year. The former CEO handed the reins to de Garidel back in July. He’s sticking around, though, leading CIN-107’s development as CSO.
It’s a close race so far, with Mineralys expecting to read out hypertension data in 2022 they hope will pave the way for a pivotal launch at the beginning of 2023. PhaseBio is right behind Mineralys and CinCor, with a program expected to enter the clinic next year. Angion also has a CYP11B2 inhibitor in the works, which is still in preclinical studies, according to its website.
“There has been little innovation in the treatment of hypertension in the past several decades, along with a lack of incorporating targeted approaches seen in other fields,” Jason Pitts, VP of General Atlantic, said in a statement.
In addition to General Atlantic, a slate of new and old investors chipped in on the Series B, including Perceptive Advisors, BVF Partners, venBio Partners, Adage Capital Management, Omega Funds, Rock Springs Capital, RTW Investments, Lilly Asia Ventures, Sixty Degree Capital, Sofinnova Investments, Sofinnova Partners, 5AM Ventures and CinRx.