Pulmocide Ltd., a late-stage biopharmaceutical company developing new inhaled therapies for patients suffering from serious respiratory diseases, publicly announced an extension round led by new investors Pictet Alternative Advisors and Vivo Capital.
Additional investors in this round included SV Health Investors, Jeito Capital, SR One, IP Group plc, F-prime Capital, Johnson & Johnson Innovation — JJDC, Inc., Adjuvant Capital, Asahi Kasei Pharma, Longwood Fund and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The Series C funding totaled $52 million, bringing the total raised to $147.5 million.
The additional funding for the opelconazole project comes from the profits from the initial financing. This will go toward further funding clinical development, increasing production size and preparing for potential commercialization. Opelconazole is a novel triazole antifungal that’s been designed specifically for use as an inhaled therapy against pulmonary Aspergillosis. Pulmocide is testing opelconazole against invasive pulmonary aspergillosis in patients that have failed multiple previous therapies. They also plan to use it as a monotherapy for prophylaxis against Aspergillus infections in patients who have had lung transplants. Results from the Phase 2b clinical trial show that opelconazole is an effective treatment for Aspergillus infections in patients who have failed previous therapies.
Pulmocide CEO Daniel Burgess stated that the company’s new and old investors provided them with much needed support in furthering their mission. This resulted in the company raising $95 million last year, allowing them to move opelconazole through late-stage development and prepare to bring this potentially important new therapy to patients in need of new treatment options.
About Pulmonary Aspergillosis
Aspergillus species are the most common cause of pulmonary fungal disease. They increase in prevalence dramatically over the last two decades. Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis, or IPA, is associated with high mortality and morbidity rates in patients with compromised immune systems. In particular, this includes individuals undergoing hematological stem cell or solid organ transplantation. Some patients in critical care also have COVID-19-associated IPA. Aspergillus plays an important role in the development of chronic lung infections such as cystic fibrosis and asthma. In fact, aspergillosis is correlated with a poorer clinical outcome in patients with chronic pulmonary obstructive disease. Moreover, aspergillosis can cause significant lung damage that’s irreversible and permanent. This damage is often accompanied by additional complications such as emphysema or CF. Consequently, people with this infection require lifelong antifungal treatment.
Oplconazole is a novel azole antifungal medicine that Pulmocide developed specifically for inhaled use. The drug’s profile maximizes its efficacy by minimizing the chance of systemic exposure while providing a high concentration of the drug in the lung. In the UK, opelconazole received special needs approval under the country’s Special Needs provision. This led to an expected dramatic increase in effectiveness with very low risk of toxicities or drug-drug interactions. Opelconazole could be useful in treating a wide range of conditions with Aspergillus involvement. These include chronic pulmonary aspergillosis, cystic fibrosis, severe asthma, allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, post-COVID-19 lung damage and severe flu. A late-stage clinical program has been initiated to support registration for patients who have failed other antifungal therapy options.
Pulmocide Ltd is a London late-stage biopharmaceutical company involved in the development of a novel inhaled azole therapy for patients at risk of developing serious complications associated with aspergillosis. This includes patients who are immunocompromised and those suffering from severe pulmonary diseases. Pulmocide’s lead product, opelconazole, is currently in development initially for the treatment of pulmonary aspergillosis.
About the Pictet Group
Pictet Financial Services Ltd. is a partnership of eight manager-owners who exclusively provide asset management, alternative investments and other related services. The partnership was formed in 1805, and both its principles of succession and transmission of ownership have remained unchanged since then. As of September 30, 2022, Pictet was the leading Europe-based independent wealth and asset manager. The Group does not engage in investment banking and doesn’t provide commercial loans. As of that date, the Group’s assets under management totaled $600 billion, or $600 billion, $539 billion and $538 billion, respectively.
The Group’s headquarters are in Geneva, where its operations began. The organization has more than 5,000 employees working for 30 offices around the world. This includes offices in Amsterdam, Basel, Barcelona, Brussels, Dubai, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hong Kong, Lausanne, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Milan, Monaco, Montreal, Munich, Nassau, New York, Osaka, Paris, Rome and Singapore. Additionally, Group offices are located in Taipei, Tel Aviv and Tokyo as well as Verona and Zurich.
Pictet Asset and Wealth Management are clients of Pictet Alternative Advisors; the company offers investment portfolios composed of alternative investments.
About Vivo Capital
In 1996, Vivo Capital was founded with a focus on healthcare investment. The firm maintains a multi-fund investment portfolio in venture capital, growth equity and buyouts. It manages close to $6.4 billion in assets and has invested in over 290 public and private companies worldwide. The Vivo team is headquartered in the American city of Palo Alto, with additional offices in Asia. It employs more than 50 professionals who are multi-discipline experts. Vivo makes investments across multiple fund strategies. These span healthcare services, medical devices and pharmaceuticals as well as biotechnology. More focus is placed on the biggest healthcare markets in the world.