Treatments for diabetic peripheral neuropathy—nerve damage stemming from diabetes—tend to focus on managing pain. But Regenacy Pharmaceuticals’ approach aims to reverse the nerve damage that causes that pain, and the company has scored $30 million to push its program into phase 2.
People with diabetes may develop peripheral neuropathy over time as high levels of sugars and fats in the blood damage their nerves. Patients feel pain most commonly in the fingers, arms, legs and feet and may eventually lose feeling in those areas, which can lead to serious infections. Addressing diabetes is a major part of treating diabetic neuropathy, but there is no treatment that reverses nerve damage.
Regenacy’s treatment, ricolinostat, is a pill that inhibits histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6). Blocking this enzyme restores the function of microtubules, known as the “railways” cells use to transport energy and nutrients. A disease like diabetes or neurotoxic drugs used in chemotherapy can disrupt this transport, causing nerve damage.
“We are fortunate to have the strong support of investors aligned with our mission to provide lasting relief of all symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy,” Regenacy CEO Simon Jones, Ph.D., said in a statement. “Our preclinical studies demonstrate that selectively inhibiting HDAC6 has the potential to safely restore nerve function in multiple peripheral neuropathies, and we are looking forward to advancing our lead program into phase 2 studies this year.”
Cobro Ventures and Taiwania Capital Management led the series A round, with 3E Bioventures Capital, Yonjin Capital, Viva Biotech Holdings and Ta Ya Venture Holdings also chipping in.
“Regenacy is diligently working on developing a therapeutic that addresses the underlying causes of peripheral neuropathy,” Marc Cohen, Regenacy’s executive chairman and co-founder of Cobro Ventures, said. “We believe the company’s HDAC6 approach has a strong potential to provide long-term improvements in pain, motor function and sensitivity in patients with this disease.”