Inflammation space swells further as Nuvig unveils $47M to transform autoimmune therapies

With Big Pharma backing and helmed by a research veteran, Nuvig has exited stealth mode with the bold aim of fundamentally transforming autoimmune disease treatment.

The company is based on a “new understanding of how the immune system naturally equilibrates itself,” Nuvig said in a May 11 announcement. This knowledge has allowed the company to develop protein therapeutics that have been genetically engineered to activate a class of immune-regulatory receptors that rebalance immune function following inflammation.

Nuvig already has $47 million in the bank to make this dream a reality, courtesy of a series A round led by Novo Holdings A/S and Platanus along with investors Bristol Myers Squibb, Digitalis Ventures and Mission BioCapital.

The Redwood City, California-based biotech is building up a preclinical pipeline of differentiated protein therapeutics that specifically target affected tissues in a disease-specific manner, it said.

“Recent scientific insights into mechanisms of immune regulation have led to our identification of novel therapeutic targets and protein therapeutic candidates that do not rely on immune suppression but rather promote a natural rebalancing of normal immune function,” said Pamela Conley, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of Nuvig.

Conley brings with her over 30 years of research experience, including her most recent role as head of research and preclinical development at thrombosis-focused Portola Pharmaceuticals.

“Based on initial preclinical data, we believe Nuvig’s therapeutic approach has the potential to be broadly active in a variety of autoimmune diseases and could dramatically improve the health and overall quality of life relative to currently available therapies and products in development for patients with chronic inflammatory diseases,” Conley said.

Nuvig was founded to “fundamentally transform” the approach towards inflammatory and autoimmune diseases treatment, said Kenneth Harrison, Ph.D., partner at Novo Ventures: “The novel mechanism of action pursued by Nuvig does not rely on traditional immune-suppressive approaches which can elevate the risk of infection and cancer. Rather, Nuvig’s lead molecule has the potential to produce a highly differentiated safety and efficacy profile in a wide range of autoimmune diseases.”

Harrison is also a member of Nuvig's board, along with Platanus' managing director Hannah Chang, M.D., Ph.D., and Esperion Therapeutics CEO Sheldon Koenig.