Startup Raises £4 Million to Develop Mucus Clearance Treatments for CF

Patrícia Silva, PhD avatar

by Patrícia Silva, PhD |

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Enterprise Therapeutics recently announced that it has closed a £4 million (about $5 million) financing deal to accelerate the development of three new treatments  — all muco-regulatory therapies — for cystic fibrosis (CF), particularly, but also for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and severe asthma.

“Respiratory disease remains an area of high unmet medical need especially in the area of CF where existing therapies do not treat all patients. This additional funding will allow us to advance our research projects and move closer towards our goal of evaluating the efficacy of muco-regulatory drugs in patients,” John Ford, chief executive officer of Enterprise Therapeutics, said in a press release.

Enterprise works with the School of Life Sciences at the University of Sussex in its development program, which aims at mechanisms that either improve mucus clearance or lower levels of mucus production, so as to reduce the frequency of lung infections that trouble people with CF, COPD, and asthma. Its lead treatment focus is CF, the company announced last year.

The muco-regulatory therapies will target the underlying causes of mucus congestion: TMEM16A — a family of proteins also known as anoctamins, which are involved in cell functions that include ion transport and regulation of other membrane proteins — and ENaC, epithelial sodium channels, to increase the hydration and clearance of mucus. Enterprise is also working on targets that reduce mucus production.

“Based on excellent achievement of project milestones across all three discovery projects at Enterprise Therapeutics we are providing this additional investment to put the company in a strong position as it continues to progress towards the clinic. We are committed to the novel muco-regulatory approach that Enterprise is taking to combat respiratory diseases,” said Liz Roper, investor director at Epidarex Capital.

The company, established in 2014, is supported by Epidarex and Imperial Innovations, and has offices in Cambridge. It is based at the Sussex Innovation Center at the University of Sussex.