IniPharm announced the close of a $35 million Series A financing round. 5AM Ventures and Wu Capital joined existing investors Frazier Healthcare Partners and Jubilant Biosys Limited. The Series A funding will support the advancement of Inipharm’s lead program through IND filing and into clinical trials.
IniPharm’s focus is on fatty liver disease, cirrhosis and others, such as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The company’s technical focus is on a genetic variant, HSD17B13, a target with strong genetic links to numerous liver diseases. There is extensive, consistent evidence that certain variants of this gene are associated with lower rates of disease, less severe disease and reduced levels of liver damage, including inflammation and fibrosis. This evidence is backed up by a 2018 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
“Inflammation and fibrosis are common end results of many liver diseases, and it appears that HSD17B13 activity could be an important common link in protecting against disease progression,” said Hannah Chang, M.D., Ph.D., managing director at Wu Capital “Inipharm is building on novel insights into the biologic activity of HSD17B13 to advance a collection of potent and selective small molecules that mimic the protective phenotype.”
“HSD17B13 is a fascinating target with strong genetic links to numerous liver diseases. The Inipharm team, along with CRO partner Jubilant Biosys, has made excellent early progress in modulating this target with small molecules, and we are thrilled to support the company to accelerate their efforts towards the clinic,” said founding board member Dan Estes, Ph.D., general partner at Frazier Healthcare Partners.