With a lead candidate in development for a big cardio market, Cardioxyl Pharmaceuticals has wrapped up a $28.1 million round of equity financing, according to an SEC filing this week. The disclosure follows years of work on a candidate in mid-stage development for acute decompensated heart failure.
Based on early research at Johns Hopkins, the candidate, CXL-1020, is an injectable nitroxyl donor compound that has shown in preclinical tests to improve heart muscle contraction and relaxation. Last year the company reported that it had started a Phase IIa study after reporting on the safety of the therapy in a first-in-man trial.
Founded in 2005, Chapel Hill, NC-based Cardioxyl has garnered support from the Aurora Funds, a venture outfit based in Durham, NC, and the deep-pocketed firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA), which has recently closed a new $2.6 billion fund to bankroll its bets in biotech, tech and other fields.
Deep pockets are essential to developing heart drugs, which typically demand large and expensive trials to gain market green lights. The potential payoff is huge as heart failure rates rise and continue to be a leading cause of hospitalizations among the older crowd, with massive costs to the healthcare system.
Earlier this week Novartis ($NVS) detailed some mixed Phase III results for its own heart failure candidate, serelaxin, declaring overall success in the study while showing just how tricky development of the cardio meds can be.