LA JOLLA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ankasa Regenerative Therapeutics, Inc. (Ankasa), a company focused on pharmaceutical preparations for reactivation of stem cells for organ and tissue regrowth, tissue repair and healing, has received $8.5 million in the first tranche of a $17 million Series A round of financing led by La Jolla-based Avalon Ventures. Other participants in the financing include Heraeus Medical, a global business unit from the technology company Heraeus of Hanau, Germany, which took a significant position, and Correlation Ventures of San Diego.
Ankasa is focusing on the development of the stem cell growth factor WNT3A, which is found in humans and functions in the maintenance of bone growth and repair, but the level of which declines with age. Ankasa intends to initially develop a proprietary localized therapy involving WNT3A for spinal fusion surgery patients. The company anticipates being in the clinic within 30 months to begin a trial in spinal fusion, and envisions its product becoming the therapy of choice for this indication in a current market estimated at more than $1 billion in annual sales. The company also intends to investigate the use of WNT3A in additional bone and other tissue repair applications.
Ankasa has obtained multiple proofs of efficacy for WNT3A in various models of bone repair in animals. If approved for commercial use, it could serve as an alternative to the protein BMP-2, a protein that is used commercially to induce bone and cartilage formation, but which has shown to have serious and limiting complications.
Sanford J. Madigan, Ph.D., CEO of Ankasa, said, “We are extremely grateful for the confidence shown in us by Avalon Ventures and its financing partners Heraeus and Correlation that culminated in this financing. We believe that our WNT3A therapy holds the promise of significantly enhancing the success rate of many bone repair and fusion surgeries. As the general population ages and the number of these surgeries rises, we feel our therapeutic approach can play a positive role for patient outcomes. We look forward to working with our investors toward the successful clinical development or our product.”
Kevin J. Kinsella, founder of Avalon Ventures, said, “We foresee a significant opportunity for Ankasa and its proprietary technology. Under the direction of Dr. Madigan, Jill A. Helms, D.D.S., Ph.D., Professor of Surgery-Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Stanford School of Medicine, and Scientific Advisory Board chairman David Lacey, M.D., we believe Ankasa can make a positive impact on the standard of care in the spinal fusion arena as well as other areas of medicine.”
Dr. Andre Kobelt, President of Heraeus Medical GmbH, said, “Ankasa is an impressive company that has the potential to drastically improve the current approach to degenerative orthopedic indications. This is an exciting technology that for Heraeus Medical, as a pure-play orthobiologics company, will allow us to expand our regenerative market footprint.”
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About Ankasa Regenerative Therapeutics
Ankasa Regenerative Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company developing strategies to improve tissue healing by exploiting the potential of stem cell reactivation. The Company is developing proprietary formulations of a potent WNT stem cell activator with the potential to accelerate tissue healing in a broad range of degenerative conditions affecting bone, cartilage, skin, muscle, vasculature and the central nervous system. The Company’s proprietary approach has demonstrated superiority for bone reformation over existing standards of care in various preclinical models.
About Avalon Ventures
Avalon Ventures is a venture capital firm that has founded and/or funded more than 120 information technology and life sciences companies. The firm is passionate about backing talented entrepreneurs seeking to build market-leading companies. Throughout the firm’s 30-year tenure, Avalon’s long-standing and successful focus has been on seed and early-stage companies. All Avalon partners are seasoned entrepreneurs with experience in company formation, operations and value creation in the life science and tech sectors. A hallmark of Avalon is working closely with its companies on all aspects of their development—ranging from team building to strategy and operations to customer development.
Heraeus, the technology group headquartered in Hanau, Germany, is a leading international family-owned company formed in 1851. With expertise, a focus on innovations, operational excellence and an entrepreneurial leadership, we strive to continuously improve our business performance. We create high-quality solutions for our clients and strengthen their competitiveness in the long term by combining material expertise with technological know-how. Our ideas are focused on themes such as the environment, energy, health, mobility and industrial applications. Our portfolio ranges from components to coordinated material systems which are used in a wide variety of industries, including the steel, electronics, chemical, automotive and telecommunications industries. In the 2014 financial year, Heraeus generated product revenues of €3.4 billion and precious metal revenues of €12.2 billion. With around 12,600 employees worldwide in more than 100 subsidiaries in 38 countries, Heraeus holds a leading position in its global markets.
About Correlation Ventures
Correlation Ventures, a $166 million venture capital fund, leverages world-class analytics to offer entrepreneurs and other venture capitalists a dramatically better option when they are seeking additional co-investment capital to complete a financing round. The firm makes investment decisions in two weeks or less and offers reliability and transparency about reserves and its intentions to follow in future financings. Correlation Ventures invests across all industry segments, U.S. geographies and investment stages—from seed through late stage. The fund’s current portfolio includes companies such as AirXpanders, Aldea Pharmaceuticals, AlienVault, CareWell Urgent Care, Casper, Crossbar, Distil, Galera Therapeutics, Gild, Good Eggs, MOGL, Pley, RQx Pharmaceuticals, and Urjanet. Correlation Ventures has offices in Palo Alto and San Diego, CA. For more information, visit http://www.correlationvc.com and @correlationvc.