Venrock-backed startup Corvidia snags $60M round to develop ex-AstraZeneca drug

A new startup founded by a handful of ex-AstraZeneca folks has hauled in a $60 million Series B round led by Venrock to push forward its Phase II trial for advanced kidney disease.

Michael Davidson

The company was co-founded in 2016 by Michael Davidson, the former CMO of New Jersey-based Omthera, which sold to AstraZeneca for $443 million back in 2013. Davidson and a couple of AstraZeneca scientists launched Corvidia Theapeutics with a drug program it in-licensed from the pharma giant.

That program, called COR-001, is the company’s most advanced asset, as it’s nearing the end of Phase II trials. The drug is being tested in patients with chronic kidney disease, specifically tackling inflammation that can lead to heart failure. In fact, the cardio space is Corvidia’s sweet spot, with a pipeline that includes COR-003 for hypertriglyceridemia.

“This funding is critical to accelerating our clinical programs and adding the necessary scientific and market access infrastructure which will drive our growth in developing precision therapies for patients across a range of complex diseases,” said Marc de Garidel, Corvidia’s CEO, in a statement.

Marc de Garidel

De Garidel is actually brand new at the startup, recruited just last month. De Garidel is likely best known for his time in leadership at Amgen, where he spent over a decade in various finance and regional VP roles. More recently, he served as chairman and CEO of Ipsen.

In a statement last month, de Garidel said he was drawn to Corvidia for its genomics approach to cardio. Developing drugs for cardiovascular conditions is tough for drugmakers thanks to the massive, expensive studies required to show safety and efficacy. Corvidia’s real edge is that it’s identified a biomarker that flags patients with advanced kidney disease who are genetically pre-disposed to develop heart failure. By narrowing their patient population to this ultra-specific pool, the company hopes its drugs will be more effective.

“Their thoughtful, targeted approach holds tremendous potential in developing therapies tailored to patients across a range of complex diseases,” de Garidel said in a statement.

The recent round of funding adds to the company’s $26 million Series A announced in 2016. In the latest round, Venrock was joined by five new investors: Andera (formerly Edmond de Rothschild), Cormorant Asset Management, HBM Healthcare Investments, Fresenius Medical Care Ventures GmbH and Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners (VHCP). The company’s past investors Apple Tree Partners, MedImmune (the global biologics R&D arm of AstraZeneca), and Sofinnova Partners, the founding seed investor, also participated in this round.

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