VectivBio Launches with $35M Financing to Bring Best-in-Disease Medicines to Patients with Serious Rare Diseases
BASEL, Switzerland, Jan. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- VectivBio, a clinical-stage biotechnology company bringing transformational medicines to patients with serious rare diseases, today announced its formation with $35 million in financing including commitments by Versant Ventures, OrbiMed, Novo Holdings, BPI France, Tekla Healthcare Investors, Inserm Transfer Initiative and Cowen Healthcare Investments. The new company is a spinout of Therachon Holding AG, which was acquired by Pfizer Inc. in 2019 for up to $810 million.
VectivBio is led by a world-class team with deep expertise in rare diseases and a track record of success in research and development, commercialization and business development for innovative products targeting orphan conditions. Therachon's former chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief medical officer and chief business officer will now be part of the VectivBio's executive team.
"We are thrilled to launch VectivBio and are committed to continue our quest of bringing transformational medicines to patients living with serious rare diseases," said Luca Santarelli, M.D., chief executive officer of VectivBio and former chief executive officer of Therachon. "Rare diseases remain an area of significant unmet medical need, where our team's proven track record and entrepreneurial mindset will enable us to have a positive impact."
"I am excited to continue to work with the former Therachon team," said Tom Woiwode, Ph.D., managing director at Versant Ventures and chairman of the board of directors at VectivBio. "Neglected conditions like short bowel syndrome represent tremendous opportunities to innovate and provide patients with much needed therapies, and with the support of our investors, the VectivBio team has all the expertise to advance our lead program, apraglutide, as a potential best-in-class treatment for this condition."
Apraglutide is a next-generation GLP-2 analog to treat short bowel syndrome (SBS). An estimated 35,000 people are thought to suffer from SBS in the U.S. and Europe. SBS results from extensive intestinal resection due to chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), acute events such as trauma, mesenteric infarction, bariatric surgery or congenital abnormalities. After surgical resection, the anatomy of the remnant intestine can vary significantly across patients, configuring a spectrum of SBS anatomical subtypes depending on remnant intestine length, presence of a stoma and the presence or absence of a functional colon. Patients with severe SBS require lifelong intravenous delivery of essential nutrients, referred to as parenteral support, for survival.
Apraglutide aims to increase the intestine's ability to absorb fluids and nutrients, thereby minimizing the burden of parenteral support. With a once-weekly dosing regimen, apraglutide is designed to have best-in-class properties with the goal of improving patients' quality of life and their ability to thrive. In addition, apraglutide's development program is designed to generate evidence of meaningful clinical benefit based on patients' underlying intestinal anatomy in order to enable a patient-tailored treatment approach.
About Short Bowel Syndrome
Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS) results from extensive intestinal resection due to chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), acute events such as trauma, mesenteric infarction, bariatric surgery or congenital abnormalities. Symptoms of SBS include diarrhea, dehydration, malnutrition and weight loss. To survive, patients with severe forms of SBS require parenteral support (PS), the intravenous delivery of essential nutrients, calories and fluids. For some patients, PS must be delivered for 10 to 15 hours per day, a significant burden that severely diminishes quality of life. In addition, people receiving chronic PS are exposed to increased rates of liver disease, a condition known as intestinal failure-associated liver disease, and to an increased risk of infections due to the chronic presence of an infusion port positioned in a central vein. In addition to PS, GLP-2 analogs can be used to increase the intestine's ability to absorb fluids and nutrients taken orally. Depending on the SBS anatomical subtype, patients may display varying degrees of response to GLP-2 treatment, requiring patient-specific monitoring and PS adaptation across the SBS anatomical spectrum. An estimated 35,000 people are thought to suffer from SBS in the U.S. and Europe, of whom 15,000 require lifelong PS and may thus be candidates for treatment with GLP-2 analogs.
Apraglutide is designed to increase the intestine's ability to absorb nutrients and minimize the burden of parenteral support, thereby improving patients' quality of life and their ability to thrive. It is a next-generation, synthetic GLP-2 analog rationally designed to achieve an extended half-life with a synthetic manufacturing process, that has undergone extensive preclinical characterization and optimization. Topline results from two Phase 2 studies of apraglutide in SBS patients are expected by the end of the first quarter of 2020. Based on preclinical and clinical data to date, apraglutide has the potential to be a best-in-class treatment for SBS, designed for once-weekly dosing with the potential to address the needs of patients across the anatomical disease spectrum that characterizes SBS.
VectivBio is a global, clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing transformational therapeutics for patients living with serious, rare diseases. The company is committed to pursuing rare diseases with well-defined biology that can be targeted with best-in-disease therapies that have the potential to meaningfully transform and improve the lives of patients and their families, not just provide an incremental improvement or benefit over the standard-of-care. VectivBio's lead program, apraglutide, is a next-generation GLP-2 analog for the treatment of short bowel syndrome (SBS).
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