Israeli startup Nutrinia nabs $30M to back pivotal trials of oral insulin for infants

Startup Nutrinia has lined up an impressive roster of investors to back what has been a long elusive achievement—the development of oral insulin. But rather than go after its use in diabetes, which many have tried and failed to do, the Israel-based upstart is aiming for specific indications to treat babies with intestinal malabsorption.

Its oral formulation of insulin aims to treat diseases locally, rather than systemically like other failed efforts. The reconstituted powder is administered into the gut via catheter where the oral insulin binds to insulin receptors in the gastrointestinal tract. This is intended to stimulate the intestinal villi and microvilli thereby helping to rehabilitate the bowel.

Nutrinia has nabbed a $30 million Series D that’s already slated for a pair of pivotal trials to support registration in two separate gut maturation and adaptation indications: intestinal malabsorption in preterm newborns and Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS) in infants. There are no approved treatments for either indication.

“We are beginning two trials in the US and Europe that will provide robust data as to the safety and efficacy of our proprietary oral formulation of insulin, and if successful, provide a direct path to registration,” said Nutrinia CEO Miki Olshansky in a statement. “These are orphan indications that affect fragile populations with high levels of unmet medical need.”

TPG Biotech led the financing with participation from H.I.G. BioHealth Partners and WuXi Healthcare Ventures, as well as from existing investors including OrbiMed and Pontifax.

 “The biological rationale for Nutrinia’s product is strong and the company’s preclinical data and outcomes of multiple previous clinical trials are compelling,” said TPG Managing Director Eran Nadav. “We believe that neonatology, and specifically the NICU, are areas that deserve particular therapeutic development focus, and we are pleased to support Nutrinia’s efforts.”

Nadav and Aaron Davidson of H.IG. are joining the board as part of the financing.

Founded in 2003, Nutrinia has now raised a total of about $43 million, according to SEC filings. It last had financing in December 2014 with a $12 million Series C round.

- here is the release

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