Cystic Fibrosis Canada Leads Financing Round Supporting New Clinical Test of Oral Drug

Daniela Semedo, PhD avatar

by Daniela Semedo, PhD |

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Laurent Pharmaceuticals, Inc., recently announced the completion of a financing round, led by the Cystic Fibrosis Canada, to support a Phase 2 clinical trial of LAU-7b in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) that is expected to begin this year in the U.S. and Canada.

“We are pleased to support Laurent Pharmaceuticals in its effort to bring this therapy closer to CF patients,” Norma Beauchamp, CEO of Cystic Fibrosis Canada, said in a press release. “This is Cystic Fibrosis Canada’s first direct investment in a company and it builds on our mission to end CF by encouraging Canadian start-up companies to advance disruptive technologies for our patient community. We are impressed by LAU-7b’s potential benefits and by the company’s efforts in bringing this therapy to the next level of development.”

LAU-7b is a new formulation of fenretinide, a semi-synthetic retinoid derivative, administrated orally. The drug is under development for CF treatment as a potential disease-modifier addressing the immuno-inflammatory pathway. LAU-7b corrects the defective metabolism of arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), a treatment approach related to the expression of the CFTR gene defect found in CF patients.

“Although the impact of CFTR modulators on sweat chloride and lung function are exciting, they have not yet demonstrated an effect on inflammation,” said Radu Pislariu, president and CEO of Laurent Pharmaceuticals. “CF Canada’s support and recognition is very encouraging for our team and investors. The AA/DHA imbalance in CF has long been recognized as a hallmark of the disease, but its potential in modulating the immune-inflammatory response in CF has been largely unexplored.”

Participants in the financing round also included existing investors Aligo Innovation LP and members of Anges Quebec, among other previous and new private investors, according to the release.

LAU-7b has been shown to correct the lipid imbalance in the plasma and lungs of CF animal models, resulting in reduced lung inflammation and a considerable decrease in the severity of pulmonary infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that contributes to the inflammation-infection cycle in CF.

The drug showed promise in a recently concluded Phase 1b dose-ascending trial in adult CF patients, the company said. The upcoming Phase 2 trial will be prepared in partnership with the Therapeutic Development Network, a large CF clinical trial network affiliated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in the United States.