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.

A New Fron­tier: The In­ner Ear

What happens when a successful biotech venture capitalist is unexpectedly diagnosed with a chronic, life-disrupting vertigo disorder? Innovation in neurotology.

That venture capitalist was Jay Lichter, Ph.D., and after learning there was no FDA-approved drug treatment for his condition, Ménière’s disease, he decided to create a company to bring drug development to neurotology. Otonomy was founded in 2008 and is dedicated to finding new drug treatments for the hugely underserved community living with balance and hearing disorders. Helping patients like Jay has been the driving force behind Otonomy, a company heading into a transformative 2020 with three clinical trial readouts: Phase 3 in Ménière’s disease, Phase 2 in tinnitus, and Phase 1/2 in hearing loss. These catalysts, together with others in the field, highlight the emerging opportunity in neurotology.
Otonomy is leading the way in neurotology
Neurotology, or the treatment of inner ear neurological disorders, is a large and untapped market for drug developers: one in eight individuals in the U.S. have moderate-to-severe hearing loss, tinnitus or vertigo disorders such as Ménière’s disease.1 With no FDA-approved drug treatments available for these conditions, the burden on patients—including social anxiety, lower quality of life, reduced work productivity, and higher rates of depression—can be significant.2, 3, 4

Joe Jimenez, Getty

Ex-No­var­tis CEO Joe Jimenez is tak­ing an­oth­er crack at open­ing a new chap­ter in his ca­reer — and that in­cludes a new board seat and a $250M start­up

Joe Jimenez is back.

The ex-CEO of Novartis has taken a board seat on Century Therapeutics, the Versant and Bayer-backed startup focused on coming up with a brand new twist on cell therapies for cancer — a field where Jimenez made his mark backing the first personalized CAR-T approved for use.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 70,800+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Credit: Shutterstock

Can we make the an­tibi­ot­ic mar­ket great again?

The standard for-profit model in drug development is straightforward. Spend millions, even billions, to develop a medicine from scratch. The return on investment (and ideally a tidy profit) comes via volume and/or price, depending on the disease. But the string of big pharma exits and slew of biotech bankruptcies indicate that the model is sorely flawed when it comes to antibiotics.

The industry players contributing to the arsenal of antimicrobials are fast dwindling, and the pipeline for new antibiotics is embarrassingly sparse, the WHO has warned. Drugmakers are enticed by greener pastures, compared to the long, arduous and expensive path to antibiotic approval that offers little financial gain as treatments are typically priced cheaply, and often lose potency over time as microbes grow resistant to them.

Top Har­vard chemist caught up in FBI’s 'T­hou­sand Tal­ents' drag­net, ac­cused of ly­ing about Chi­nese con­nec­tions, pay

The FBI’s probe into the alleged theft of R&D secrets by Chinese authorities has drawn Harvard’s top chemist into its net.

The agency accused Charles M. Lieber, who chairs the university’s chemistry and chemical biology department, with lying about his involvement in China’s Thousand Talents campaign, which was established as a way of drawing in innovators from around the world. And the scientist, 60, was charged with making false statements about his ties to China.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 70,800+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Eye­ing a trio of tri­al ini­ti­a­tions, Jim Wilson's gene ther­a­py start­up woos Bruce Gold­smith from Deer­field as CEO

Passage Bio — Jim Wilson’s self-described “legacy company” — has wooed a seasoned biotech executive to steer the clinical entry of its first three gene therapy programs.

Bruce Goldsmith jumps to the helm of Passage after a brief CEO stint at Civetta, a cancer-focused startup he helped launch while a venture partner at Deerfield. He takes over from OrbiMed partner and interim chief Stephen Squinto, who will now lead the R&D team.

Amber Saltzman (Ohana)

Flag­ship's first ven­ture of 2020 is out, and it's all about sperm

A couple years ago, Amber Salzman got a call as she was returning East full-time after a two-year stint running a gene therapy company in California.

It was from someone at Flagship Pioneering, the deep-pocketed biotech venture firm. They had a new company with a new way of thinking about sperm. It had been incubating for over a year, and now they wanted her to run it.

“It exactly fit,” Salzman told Endpoints News. “I just thought I had to do something.”

Pfiz­er ax­es 6 ear­ly to late-stage can­cer stud­ies from the pipeline — with one oth­er cut for sick­le cell dis­ease

Pfizer trimmed a group of 3 R&D programs using their PD-L1 Bavencio — partnered with Merck KGaA — in their latest pipeline cull.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 70,800+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

UP­DAT­ED: In­cyte scores much need­ed PhI­II suc­cess — and of course it’s de­liv­ered by rux­oli­tinib

Incyte’s efforts to breathe a second life into ruxolitinib — its JAK inhibitor sold in pill form as Jakafi — has been greeted with clear, if preliminary and unsurprising, Phase III success.

Topline data from the TRuE-AD2 cements ruxolitinib’s foundational importance for Incyte, and gives analysts hope that there might yet be room for growth in a pipeline that’s suffered multiple R&D setbacks.

Stephen Hahn, AP

The FDA un­veils a new reg­u­la­to­ry frame­work to speed along gene ther­a­pies, re­ward­ing the lead­ing play­ers

Bioregnum Opinion Column by John Carroll

The emphasis at the FDA over the past 5 years or so has been on assisting drug developers as much as they can to speed up regulatory reviews and push more drugs into the market. And they are now crafting a final set of regulations aimed at flagging through a whole new generation of gene therapies in clinical testing at a rapid clip.

In a set of 6 prospective guidances posted on the FDA web site Tuesday morning, FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn committed the agency to staying flexible in handing out designations that are critical to gaining early approvals for drugs that claim to be once-and-done but don’t have anything close to the data needed to prove it.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.