NAARDEN, The Netherlands--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dezima Pharma (‘Dezima’), the biotechnology company developing innovative drugs in the field of dyslipidemia, announced today the in-licensing of a cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitor DEZ-001 (formerly TA-8995) from Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC). Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
DEZ-001 has completed single and multiple ascending dose studies showing an unprecedented effect on high density lipoprotein (HDL) and low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels in healthy volunteers with a very favourable side-effect profile. The company plans to support clinical development of DEZ-001 to Phase 3 clinical trials. Professor John Kastelein, founder of Dezima, co-founder of UniQure and advisor to Forbion Capital Partners, identified DEZ-001 as a potentially best-in-class, potent and safe CETP inhibitor.
At the same time, Dezima also reported the strengthening of its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) with the addition of two world-leading experts in the dyslipidemia space: Dr Philip Barter, President of the International Atherosclerosis Society and Conjoint Professor at The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, and Dr Bryan Brewer, Director at Washington Cardiovascular Associates and Senior Research Consultant of Lipoprotein and Atherosclerosis Research at the Medstar Research Institute, Washington DC, USA.
Professor Kastelein, Dezima’s CSO and Chairman of its SAB, commented: “CETP inhibitors hold enormous potential to further normalize lipid levels in millions of dyslipidemic patients worldwide. This product was a compelling in-licensing prospect because of its promising early clinical efficacy and safety profile. By applying a smart development program, DEZ-001 could potentially enter the market at a time similar to competing CETP inhibitors.”
Sander van Deventer, Dezima’s interim-CEO and General Partner at Forbion Capital Partners, who seed-financed Dezima together with BioGeneration Ventures, added: “The dyslipidemia space represents an attractive investment opportunity due to the continued high unmet medical need and the introduction of several next-generation therapeutic approaches. The addition of these two renowned experts to Dezima’s SAB will support the company in advancing DEZ-001, and in helping to identify additional earlier-stage dyslipidemia assets in order to develop a range of promising therapies in the CVD field.”
Notes to editors:
About Dezima Pharma B.V.
Dezima Pharma was founded in 2012 by Prof. John Kastelein, Professor of Medicine at the Department of Vascular Medicine at the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and seed-financed by Forbion Capital Partners and BioGeneration Ventures, to develop novel products to treat dyslipidemic patients suffering from cardiovascular disease (CVD). The company’s lead product DEZ-001, a potent CETP inhibitor, has been in-licenced from Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation.
About dyslipidemia and CETP inhibitors
Dyslipidemia is a generally asymptomatic disease in which serum lipid levels deviate from the normal level. It is considered to be a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease due to its direct relation with atherosclerosis. The market for dyslipidemic drugs, including statins, fish oils and fibrates, topped $25Bn in 2010. Though current treatment is relatively effective a high unmet need remains: about 60% of treated patients have a considerable chance of experiencing a cardiovascular event, which goes along with significant morbidity and mortality.
The Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein (CETP) facilitates the transfer of cholesterol from HDL to other lipoproteins including LDL, in exchange for triglycerides. The CETP mediated transfer of cholesterol into LDL particles results into maturation of those LDL particles to more atherogenic LDL particles, which contribute to macrophage foam cell, and eventually plaque formation. Large Mendelian Randomization studies, epidemiological as well as preclinical studies have provided evidence for the notion that lower CETP activity is inversely related to cardiovascular mortality. In addition, reduced activity of CETP by pharmaceutical means or by naturally occurring mutations in the CETP gene results in increased HDL and decreased LDL levels. This provides a rationale for the inhibition of CETP activity as a therapeutic intervention in dyslipidemic conditions characterized by either low HDL or high LDL cholesterol.
About Forbion Capital Partners
Forbion Capital Partners is a dedicated Life Sciences venture capital firm with offices in Naarden, The Netherlands, and Munich, Germany. Forbion invests in life sciences companies in drug discovery & development as well as medical device companies addressing substantial unmet medical needs. Forbion’s investment team of nine investment professionals has built an impressive performance track record since the late nineties with successful investments in Rhein Biotech, Crucell, Neutec, Glycart, Borean, Impella, Alantos, Acorda, Fovea, PanGenetics, Argenta Discovery and most recently Biovex and Pathway Medical. Current assets under management exceed $550M, split between four active funds and comprising some 29 promising portfolio companies. Forbion Capital Partners Fund II is supported by the European Investment Fund through its ERP and LfA facilities. Forbion co-manages Biogeneration Ventures, an early stage fund focused on (academic) spin-outs and seed investments in the Netherlands. (www.forbion.com).
About BioGeneration Ventures
BioGeneration Ventures manages funds that are actively investing venture capital in the next generation of successful Life Sciences companies in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Its team has a successful track record and a broad experience in the Life Sciences sector. BioGeneration Ventures was co-founded by the Netherlands Genomics Initiative (NGI), the Holding of the University of Leiden, and ABN- AMRO. (www.biogenerationventures.com)