Helmed by former Allergan execs, Bonti bags $15M

Ex-Allergan executives have pulled in $15.5 million in series C funding for Bonti, a startup working on a new botulinum neurotoxin for both therapeutic and cosmetic uses.

The new capital will carry the company’s lead asset, EB-001, botulinum neurotoxin serotype E, through the end of an ongoing phase 2 trial and allow the initiation and completion of a second phase 2 study, according to a statement. The funds will also support market research efforts.

“We’re grateful both to our new investors who joined this funding round and to our existing investors who participated in this financing,” said Bonti CEO and co-founder Fauad Hasan, who served as strategic and technical lead for neurotoxin programs at Botox-maker Allergan. “As happened in our previous fundraising efforts, participation in this round exceeded our series C target, highlighting the strong interest and excitement for Bonti’s vision, for our rapid progress to date and for our team. We plan to continue executing effectively to exceed major development milestones and to briskly advance the pipeline for our lead candidate, EB-001, in 2018.”

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Botox, a botulinum neurotoxin serotype A, is used cosmetically but is also marketed for the treatment of overactive bladder and chronic migraine, among other conditions. Bonti’s candidate works similarly to Botox, but it acts more quickly and its effects don’t last as long—the effects of EB-001 appear within 24 hours and last about three to four weeks, compared to onset of action between three and seven days and a duration of effect of about three to four months. These properties may make EB-001 “well-suited” for applications such as the treatment of postsurgical and nonsurgical musculoskeletal pain, the company said.

“There remains an urgency to find novel, non-narcotic alternatives to treat pain to help combat the devastating opioid epidemic raging in the United States currently,” said Jonathan Lim, M.D., chairman and co-founder of Bonti and managing partner of City Hill Ventures, which led the round.