Report: Father of DMD victim raises $17M for his mission to conquer disease

Ilan Ganot, founder of Solid Ventuers

Patient groups are a potent force in the Duchenne muscular dystrophy field, where parents are known to take a vocal role in pushing regulators to help biotechs advance new therapies for the lethal genetic condition. Now one of those parents, J.P. Morgan vet Ilan Ganot, has reportedly been raising some serious cash to do deals on early-stage therapies that can be rushed through clinical development.

Bloomberg writer Meg Tirrell reports that Ganot has raised $17 million for his Boston-based biotech, Solid Ventures. The strategy here is a simple one, notes the business news service. Ganot plans to use his financial savvy to raise the money needed to get an early-stage drug, and then finance a high-speed development effort aimed to help his son conquer the awful disease.

It's a daunting task. Ganot's company, which has an online presence limited to a simple welcome, is entering a field that has been marked by one setback after the next. Sarepta's ($SRPT) stock price swelled last year as speculators gambled on an accelerated approval based on data from a tiny study. Then its stock price exploded after Prosensa's similar DMD drug, partnered with GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), failed in Phase III and Sarepta noted the FDA's skepticism about the technology. Now Glaxo is out and Prosensa ($RNA) is carrying on with a much reduced market cap while Sarepta preps for a larger study. 

PTC Therapeutics ($PTCT), meanwhile, has experienced its own clinical failures in the field, though it continues to raise a large amount of money for its work.

Credit Ganot, though, with a singular passion for this, even if he does lack development experience.

"I am seriously focused, because I have one problem in my life," Ganot told Tirrell. "We're going to become the center for excellence in DMD."

What the story lacks is any mention of an actual drug and a new approach for DMD, even though Ganot says he's in talk with Big Pharma about partnerships. Financial strategy, though, can't substitute for science. Especially when it comes to defeating DMD. 

- here's the story from Bloomberg