Spyryx Biosciences, Inc. has successfully raised $18 million in Series A venture capital financing, which will be used to develop novel therapies to treat respiratory conditions such as cystic fibrosis (CF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The funding was secured through deals with Canaan Partners, Hatteras Venture Partners and 5AM Ventures.
“We are excited to have raised this robust Series A funding and to have gained the support of world-class investment funds such as Canaan, Hatteras and 5AM,” said the president and CEO of Spyryx, John Taylor in a press release. “The financial strength this money brings to the Company and the significant expertise each of these funds has in pulmonary drug development ideally positions Spyryx to rapidly advance our CF therapeutic into clinical development and to explore the potential for treating COPD.”
As a result of the transaction, Spyryx plans to make a few changes in corporate leadership, as the company expects the new investors to support their mission of developing more effective treatments for CF and COPD. Tim Shannon, MD, who is a general partner of new investor Canaan, will now serve as chairman of Spyryx’s Board of Directors, while the managing director of Hatteras Discovery at Hatteras, Christy Shaffer, PhD, and the venture partner of 5AM, Brian Daniels, MD, will also be included as new members of the Board.
“I would like to thank our departing board member, Dr. Don Rose, and his team at UNC’s Carolina KickStart for their efforts in founding and nurturing Spyryx to this point. I welcome our new board members to the Spyryx team and look forward to working closely with Dr. Shannon, Dr. Shaffer and Dr. Daniels to achieve our mission of delivering disease-modifying therapies for devastating pulmonary diseases,” Taylor stated.
Spyryx was established in 2013 after significant research findings made investigator Robert Tarran from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who was able to pharmaceutically inflect a mechanism that is performed by the lungs for the regulation of fluid in the airways through the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC). In CF patients, there is an abnormality in this mechanism, which may explain the progressive dehydration of the airway surface liquid that causes mucus accumulation, chronic bacterial colonization, immune response, tissue scarring, loss of lung function and premature death.
According to the research conducted by Tarran, who founded the company, manipulating the mechanism might help both patients with CF and other obstructive lung conditions, such as COPD. “Currently, there is no cure for CF or COPD. We hope that we can use this funding to translate our laboratory findings into treatments for both of these diseases. We gratefully acknowledge key funding from the NIH and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, which has enabled us to get to this point,” said Tarran.
“Significant recent progress has been made in developing treatments for cystic fibrosis, but there is still a lot of unmet need in this disease,” added the new chairman, Shannon. “Dr. Tarran and the team at Spyryx have developed strong data supporting their novel approach for restoring a normal mechanism for fluid regulation, and because it has the potential to treat all CF patients, it was a very compelling investment opportunity. We believe the Company has a strong future ahead as it moves toward clinical validation of this therapeutic approach in a truly devastating genetic disease like CF, and perhaps beyond.”