Priothera established to hunt for cure for cancers of the blood, bone marrow and lymph nodes.

Dublin-based start-up Priothera has raised €30m in a funding round led by Irish life sciences venture capital player Fountain Healthcare Partners.

Other funds participating in the round include co-lead investor HealthCap and funds managed by Tekla Capital Management, LLC as well as EarlyBird Venture Capital.

“I have high hopes that Priothera can make an impactful difference for these patients”

Priothera was set up specifically to hunt for a treatment for one of the most common forms of leukaemia.

Clinical data

Three of the key players at Priothera were involved with Inflazome, the Irish company acquired last month by Swiss pharma giant Roche in a €380m deal. Co-founder and CEO Dr Florent Gros was a founding investor at Inflazome and Dr Dhavel Patel was a board member of Inflazome.

Priothera will use the funds to progress the clinical development of mocravimod, a modulator of sphingosine 1 phosphate (S1P) receptors, to enhance the curative potential of allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) for treating AML.

Priothera expects to generate further randomised clinical data in high risk AML patients with this Series A funding round.

“The Priothera team has identified and validated a novel commercial opportunity for an S1P receptor modulator allowing the company to complete this significant Series A funding round,” explained Dr Manus Rogan, chair of Priothera.

“With their extensive expertise and capabilities, I am confident that Florent and the team are uniquely placed to successfully generate further clinical data to highlight the significant potential of mocravimod.”

Mocravimod has already been extensively tested in multiple immunologic indications and has shown survival benefit in an early clinical study evaluating acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Priothera acquired mocravimod from KYORIN Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

“We are delighted to welcome this terrific syndicate of investors, who share our passion, commitment, and vision for advancing Priothera’s potentially best-in-class new therapy, mocravimod, in patients with acute myeloid leukemia and other hematologic malignancies,” Dr Gros said.

“Allogenic stem cell transplant is the only potentially curative approach for AML patients, but has unacceptably high mortality with current treatments. We are excited about mocravimod which has a unique mechanism of action and clinical proof of concept demonstrating its ability to improve survival outcomes for this devastating disease.”

Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, Priothera was founded in 2020 by Drs. Florent Gros and Dhaval Patel. Joining the founding team are the experienced industry executive, Dr. Christoph Bucher, Dr Simone Seiter, and Brice Suire.

Dr. Dhaval Patel, co-founder and board director of Priothera, who previously led Research Europe and the Autoimmunity, Transplantation and Inflammation Disease Area at Novartis, known for its success in developing other S1P receptor modulators, stated: “Mocravimod is an outstanding, well-characterized and well-behaved S1P receptor modulator that is well-suited for clinical development and commercial manufacturing.

“Based on the clinical results to date, mocravimod has the potential to be a best-in-class therapy to decrease the morbidity and mortality associated with HSCT for AML. I have high hopes that Priothera can make an impactful difference for these patients.”

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 13 October, 2020

Recommended