Turku, Finland--Forendo Pharma today announced the successful closing of a EUR 12 million new investment round. Novartis Venture Fund and MS Ventures will participate in the financing round, alongside the current major shareholders Karolinska Development, Novo A/S and Finnvera.
The proceeds will be used to finance the further development of Forendo's clinical candidate FP-5677 up until clinical proof-of-concept for the treatment of endometriosis. FP-5677 inhibits the enzyme 17-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 (HSD17B1) –and is a novel drug with potential to become the first specific treatment for endometriosis through its organ specific regulation of estrogen hormone activity. Forendo will also progress early phase programs from its HSD platform for other hormone dependent diseases.
Endometriosis is a chronic disease affecting up to 10% of the women between adolescence and menopause. There is a large unmet medical need as the current available therapies are unspecific, focusing on pain medication, hormonal treatments, and surgery, leaving many patients without satisfactory relief of their chronic pelvic pain either because of poor efficacy or poor tolerability. The total annual societal cost of endometriosis in Europe and the USA is estimated to be beyond 100 billion Euros.
"We're proud and delighted to welcome Novartis Venture Fund and MS Ventures as new shareholders and Anja König from Novartis Venture Fund, and Hakan Goker from MS Ventures to complement our board. These important international investors will significantly expand our network of experts and potential partners from the main markets to secure our success with this new invention. The successful financing round and the strong investor base is allowing us to progress with optimal speed through the critical development steps ahead of us", said Risto Lammintausta, CEO of Forendo Pharma.
"We are excited to join Forendo on their journey to develop novel medicines in endometriosis. We are particularly impressed with Forendo's experienced and committed team", said Dr. Anja König, Managing Director at Novartis Venture Fund.
Dr. Hakan Goker, Investment Director at MS Ventures, the strategic corporate venture capital fund of Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck, commented, "We look forward to working with this team of experienced repeat entrepreneurs to advance the unique findings and biology of HSDs in endometriosis and other indications, hopefully leading to paradigm changing therapies for these diseases with high unmet medical need".
For further information, please contact:
Risto Lammintausta, CEO, Forendo Pharma OY
Tel: +358 (0)40 310 8010
e-mail: risto.lammintausta <at> forendo.com
TO THE EDITORS
About Forendo Pharma
Forendo Pharma is a drug development company based in Turku, Finland. Its core competence resides in organ specific hormone mechanisms, giving new opportunities to unmet needs in women ́s and men ́s health. The key programs are HSD17B1 enzyme inhibitor , FP-5677, aimed for a novel specific treatment of endometriosis and fispemifene, a program with positive Phase II data in treatment of secondary hypogonadism and with disease model data in lower urinary tract symptoms and chronic prostatitis.
Forendo has recently signed a licensing agreement for fispemifene development and marketing in USA with Apricus Biosciences Inc (www.apricusbio.com)
The core team of Forendo includes pioneers within Finnish drug development and leading academic professionals in endocrinology.
Forendo is supported by leading Nordic VC investors Karolinska Development AB, Novo Seeds and Finnvera with international venture groups, Novartis Venture Fund and MS Ventures joining now.
Further information is available at www.forendo.com.
About the Investors