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Catabasis raises $9M for PhII-ready drug development program

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Catabasis Pharmaceuticals has gone back to the well to raise close to $9 million, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Cambridge, MA-based Catabasis scored an additional $8 million for its Series A back in late 2011, pushing the first round up to $47.6 million as the developer advanced a second omega-3 drug program through a Phase I study ahead of schedule. That round was pieced together with cash from SV Life Sciences, Clarus Ventures, MedImmune Ventures and Advanced Technology Ventures.

Catabasis--which was founded by Sirtris vets Jill Milne and Michael Jirousek, the chief scientific officer--has been focusing much of its resources on CAT1000, an anti-inflammatory program now on the threshold of Phase II. The CAT2000 series, meanwhile, targets the lipid synthesis pathway in order to treat hypertriglyceridemia. According to the biotech's website, it's about ready to enter the clinic. And a discovery-stage program is in place for lysosomal pathways identified with ultra-rare conditions, an increasingly popular field in the industry.

The company's roots date back to a significant early-stage study that Harvard's Steven Shoelson had undertaken, testing a new approach to treating diabetes with a low-cost generic drug called salsalate. The study proved to Shoelson that he was on to something: an anti-inflammatory strategy could be effectively used to fight Type 2 diabetes. That was a big switch from the common approach of finding new ways to better control blood sugar levels.

"He was one of the first people to demonstrate proof-of-concept in the clinic," CEO Milne told FierceBiotech in 2010. But Shoelson also saw that the therapy he was working with required extremely high dosing, which could trigger tinnitus, a constant ringing of the ears. So he went back to the drawing board. Out of that work came Catabasis' first experimental proprietary therapy, which combines salicylate and omega-3 fatty acids. 

- here's the SEC document
- read the story from the Boston Business Journal

Special Report: Catabasis Pharmaceuticals - 2010 Fierce 15

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