Sandwich, UK – Levicept Ltd., a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of LEVI-04, a p75 neurotrophin receptor fusion protein (p75NTR-Fc) for chronic pain indications, announces that it has closed a £10 million Series A financing with Advent Life Sciences, Gilde Healthcare and Index Ventures. In addition, Levicept was awarded a £2.4 million grant from the Biocatalyst Fund of the UK's innovation agency, Innovate UK, in April 2014.
Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance the proprietary neurotrophin-modulating fusion protein from preclinical research to a proof-of-concept first-in-human study in osteoarthritis patients. "The ongoing support from our existing investor and new involvement from investors with deep experience in the life sciences is testament to the exciting preclinical data already obtained with p75NTR-Fc," said Simon Westbrook, Chief Executive Officer of Levicept. "LEVI-04 has shown the potential to provide a truly differentiated treatment for patients with osteoarthritis in a clinically precedented pathway".
Raj Parekh (Advent Life Sciences) and Arthur Franken (Gilde Healthcare Partners) will be joining David Grainger (Index Ventures), Kevin Johnson (Executive Chairman Levicept) and Simon Westbrook (CEO Levicept) to form the new board of Levicept Ltd.
Notes for Editors
Levicept is a biopharmaceutical company focused solely on the preclinical and clinical development of p75NTR-Fc as treatment for osteoarthritis and chronic pain. Levicept is based in Sandwich, UK. p75NTR-Fc was originally discovered at Pfizer by Levicept's founder and CEO, Simon Westbrook, who subsequently acquired the asset following the closure of Pfizer's research site. Levicept received seed funding from Index Ventures in 2012, enabling the Company to deliver research test agent for preclinical studies, and preclinical proof-of-concept data demonstrating efficacy and safety. Levicept was awarded a £2.4 million grant by Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency in April 2014. The Company raised a further £10 million in September 2014 to develop LEVI-04 to proof-of-concept first-in-human clinical trials. For more information please visit the website at www.levicept.com.
About Gilde Healthcare
Gilde Healthcare (Utrecht, The Netherlands and Cambridge, USA) is a transatlantic growth capital investor focused on private healthcare companies. It has over €450 million ($600 million) under management and is actively looking to lead new investments in therapeutics, medical devices and healthcare services. For a list of Gilde's portfolio companies please visit the website at www.gildehealthcare.com.
About osteoarthritis and chronic pain
Chronic pain affects large numbers of people, estimated to be approximately 15–20% of the adult population. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 76 million people in the US live with chronic pain. With more than 1 billion people worldwide living with some type of chronic pain, a large unmet medical need for safe and effective analgesics exists. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most widely used drugs to treat pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, but their use is limited by adverse effects on gastrointestinal and platelet function, as well as increased cardiovascular liability. Reliance on NSAIDS and opiate compounds is testament to the lack of innovation in the treatment of chronic pain. There is an urgent need to develop new, more effective analgesic therapies that are directed toward new molecular targets.
Levicept's LEVI-04 (p75NTR-Fc) is a first-in-class proprietary fusion protein. It is being developed as an once a month injectable for the treatment of osteoarthritis and chronic pain.