Inflazome has raised €40 million ($46 million). The Forbion-led series B tees up Inflazome to trial its NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitors in several inflammatory diseases.
Irish-British biotech Inflazome is working on a pipeline of small molecules designed to block signals that lead to unwanted inflammation. That focus has led the company to NLRP3, an innate immune signaling receptor involved in the assembly of inflammasome protein complexes. When working as intended, the process protects the body from pathogens. But if it goes off in the absence of threats, it triggers harmful inflammation implicated in a range of diseases.
Inflazome wants to improve outcomes for patients with some of these conditions, which include Alzheimer’s, inflammatory bowel disease and gout, by inhibiting activation of NLRP3 and thereby stopping excessive inflammation.
Led by Dutch VC shop Forbion, a syndicate including Longitude Capital, Novartis Venture Fund and Fountain Healthcare Partners has given Inflazome €40 million to pursue the idea. The cash will fund clinical trials of Inflazone’s lead drug in multiple inflammatory diseases starting next year, and enable the company to work on next-generation compounds.
Forbion led the round after identifying Inflazome as the best way to gain exposure to inflammasome research.
“Recognizing the important role of the inflammasome in many major diseases, we intensively screened the universe of companies active in this space. We decided to back Inflazome because of their leading position, deep understanding of inflammasome biology, foundational IP position and advanced and diversified pipeline of NLRP3 modulators,” Forbion’s Marco Boorsma said in a statement.
Inflazome’s 2019 target for getting into the clinic puts it on a similar trajectory to the competition. IFM Tre, a subsidiary of IFM Therapeutics, raised $31 million in July to take an NLRP3 antagonist into humans next year. Gout, NASH, Crohn’s disease, metabolic disease and Cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes are on IFM’s initial hitlist. Alzheimer’s is next on the list.
NodThera, another NLRP3 biotech, raised $40 million earlier this year.