Seattle biotech Genoa plans to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis by creating an inhaled version of the drug pirfenidone.
Seattle biotech Genoa Pharmaceuticals, led by industry veteran Bruce Montgomery, has reeled in $62 million from investors to develop a treatment for a disease that causes lung scarring.
Genoa plans to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis by creating an inhaled version of the drug pirfenidone. The inhaled delivery, Montgomery said, should help get larger doses of the medicine to where it will be most effective — the lungs.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic lung disease that generally affects people over the age of 50, causing a buildup of scar tissue in the lungs. In the United States, more than 30,000 people are diagnosed each year and most people survive just three to five years with the disease, according to the National Institutes of Health.
A new treatment, pirfenidone, was introduced in pill form in recent years, and Genoa is working on a way to make it more effective. Right now, Montgomery said, the drug has to be given in large doses to have enough effect on the lungs, which can cause adverse effects on other parts of the body. If it were to go directly to the lungs, that could change.
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“We certainly should be able to get less adverse effect because we have a lower systemic dose,” he said.
The $62 million funding round, led by F-Prime Capital Partners and Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, should carry the company through the second round of its clinical trials. Genoa plans to start trials on patients later this year.
The company’s inhaled version of the drug, Aerodone, received orphan-drug designation from the Food and Drug Administration in 2014. The designation gives financial breaks during the development process and market exclusivity for the approved drug.
Montgomery previously led Corus Pharma in Seattle, a biotech that developed an inhaled antibiotic for the lungs, which was bought by Gilead Sciences in 2006. With a medical degree from the University of Washington, Montgomery’s biotech career includes development of four different aerosol medications for the lungs.
Montgomery joined the Genoa team as CEO in March. The company has six employees in downtown Seattle and San Diego.
Novo AS, RiverVest Venture Partners and TPG Biotech also invested in Genoa’s funding round.