CHELSEA, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Civitas Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on developing transformative pulmonary delivery therapies, announced today that it has secured a $20 million Series A financing from founding investor, Longitude Capital, along with co-lead Canaan Partners. The proceeds of the financing will be primarily used to advance Civitas’ lead program for treating patients with Parkinson’s disease through clinical proof-of-concept. The company is a spin-out of Alkermes, Inc.’s pulmonary delivery business that includes the related technology, pipeline assets and the commercial ready manufacturing facility.
“We have a remarkable opportunity to build upon Alkermes’ outstanding work developing and validating this proprietary pulmonary delivery technology in the clinic and at commercial scale, with our lead program for Parkinson’s disease. We are fortunate to have the pioneers that developed this technology as co-founders, colleagues and investors,” said Glenn Batchelder, Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “Also, we are delighted to have a strong investor syndicate that brings deep commercial product expertise.”
“The Civitas pulmonary technology holds extraordinary potential to provide therapies to patients that can fundamentally alter the standard of care in many serious diseases,” said James Wright, PhD, Founder and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board. “I am excited by the opportunity to translate the full potential of this powerful pulmonary delivery platform into important products.”
“I am very pleased to have such a talented and committed group focused on developing these assets,” said Richard Pops, Chief Executive Officer of Alkermes. “This team is well positioned to leverage this technology platform to develop therapeutics that could significantly improve patients’ lives.”
Civitas’ lead program for Parkinson’s disease has the potential to be used by patients both as an acute rescue therapy for hypomobility episodes and as chronic treatment to minimize response fluctuations. The pulmonary delivery therapy in development by Civitas could assist the large and growing number of Parkinson’s patients worldwide who experience debilitating and unpredictable response fluctuations even after optimizing their oral medication regimen.
“Civitas’ lead program highlights the attractiveness of this opportunity by applying a highly validated technology that is uniquely able to address a significant unmet need and could provide life altering benefits for Parkinson’s patients,” said David Hirsch, MD, PhD, of Longitude Capital.
“We are very excited to be working with the company founders, Alkermes and Longitude. We believe the lead program can demonstrate its potential benefit compared to the standard of care very early in the clinical development path with relatively few patients treated,” said Tim Shannon, MD, of Canaan Partners.
Civitas’ founders also include Richard Batycky, PhD, who will serve as Chief Scientific Officer and Martin Freed, MD, who will serve as Chief Medical Officer. The Board of Directors will include Mr. Batchelder, Dr. Hirsch, Dr. Shannon, and Blair Jackson, a vice president of Alkermes, Inc.
About Civitas Therapeutics
Civitas is a privately held pharmaceutical company focused on developing products with a clinically proven dry powder pulmonary delivery platform. The proprietary dry powder and device combination is unique in its ability to deliver a large, precise dose independent of inspiratory flow rate from a simple, passive device. The technology has successfully delivered more than one million doses to patients and the manufacturing technology has been scaled to accommodate a significant commercial launch. The lead program is for Parkinson’s disease with clinical proof of concept anticipated to be complete in 2012. Additional programs encompass pulmonary disease, allergy, and pain.
Civitas licensed and purchased the technology and assets from Alkermes which includes a large IP estate, a set of development stage pipeline assets, the specialized pulmonary equipment and the commercial scale GMP manufacturing facility. Civitas’ investors are Canaan Partners, Longitude Capital, and Alkermes.
About Canaan Partners
Canaan Partners invests in visionary entrepreneurs and provides them the networks, insights and operational guidance required to build high-performance technology and healthcare companies. Founded in 1987, the firm has raised eight funds and completed more than 83 acquisitions and 52 IPOs. With $3 billion under management and a worldwide footprint, the firm is committed to catalyzing the growth of innovative biopharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostics and healthcare infrastructure companies. Among its successes are Amicus Therapeutics, a pioneer of next-generation oral therapies for the management of human genetic diseases; BiPar Sciences, a biopharmaceutical company pioneering novel tumor-selective therapies to address urgent unmet needs of cancer patients; Calixa Therapeutics, developer of hospital-based antibiotics to treat infections resulting from resistant strains of bacteria; and Cerexa Inc., one of the largest biotech acquisitions of 2007. Other Canaan investments include Advanced BioHealing, Calibra Medical, Chimerix, Inc., Liquidia Technologies, ReVision Optics, Theraclone Sciences, Transcend Medical, and VaxInnate. Canaan maintains a presence in California, Connecticut, New York, India and Israel. For more information visit www.canaan.com.
About Longitude Capital
Longitude Capital is a life sciences venture capital firm specializing in investments in medical devices, biotechnology and pharmaceutical product development, and diagnostics and R&D tools. Founded in 2006, the firm consists of six investment professionals with more than 100 years of operating and investing experience in privately-held and publicly-traded companies. Longitude Capital raised $325 million in its inaugural fund in 2008 and has offices in Menlo Park, CA and Greenwich, CT. For further information, please visit the Longitude Capital website at http://www.longitudecapital.com.