Endeavor BioMedicines has raised $62 million in series A funding to support the launch of two Phase 2 trials evaluating taladegib (ENV-101), its investigational candidate for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), the company announced in a press release.
The therapy is designed to target the underlying causes of the respiratory system disease. Indeed, the two studies aim to explore taladegib’s ability to slow, or even reverse, disease progression in people with IPF. In the first, expected to start later this year, Endeavor plans to assess the safety and efficacy of taladegib when given as a stand-alone therapy. Based on the data from this study, the clinical-stage company may then launch a second Phase 2 trial by 2022 that will focus on exploring the therapeutic potential of taladegib when given in combination with standard-of-care IPF therapies.
Taladegib is a small molecule inhibitor of the Hedgehog pathway, a signaling cascade that is known to activate connective tissue cells, called myofibroblasts, that have been found to promote and exacerbate lung tissue scarring (fibrosis). By blocking the Hedgehog pathway and preventing myofibroblasts’ activation, taladegib is expected to stop, or even reverse, the lung fibrosis that characterizes IPF.
“Emerging preclinical and clinical evidence shows the Hedgehog signaling pathway, which is implicated in chronic wound healing, plays a critical role in IPF disease pathology [disease mechanisms],” said John Hood, PhD, co-founder, CEO, and chairman of Endeavor.
“With taladegib’s impressive potency and safety profile, there is the potential to introduce an entirely new class of medicine that may be able to stop or reverse the course of this deadly disease,” Hood said.
Endeavor’s investigational therapy has been given to 176 individuals to date. In this group, taladegib was found to be safe and able to specifically inhibit the Hedgehog pathway and the subsequent activation of myofibroblasts.
“In developing a best-in-class Hedgehog inhibitor therapy and applying it in an emerging area of science, Endeavor has the potential to completely change the trajectory of IPF,” said Bernard Davitian, partner at Omega Funds, one of the investment firms that led Endeavor’s financial round.
“This is a testament to Endeavor’s persistence in translating promising scientific insights into real medicines that can benefit patients with significant unmet medical needs. Omega is proud to support Endeavor’s world-class team in this mission,” Davitian added.
In addition to Omega Funds, the financial round was led by Longitude Capital, and Endeavor’s management.
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