– FRANCE – Alizé Pharma SAS, an Alizé Pharma group company specialized in the development of biopharmaceuticals to treat metabolic disorders and rare diseases, today announces that it has closed a new financing round of EUR 5 million (USD 6.6 million).
The funds will be used to continue the clinical program for AZP-531, including the set-up and completion of two clinical trials: a Phase II trial in hyperphagia associated with Prader-Willi syndrome and a Phase Ib trial in type 2 diabetes.
The French public investment bank Bpifrance led the operation via the InnoBio fund. The InnoBio fund has taken an equity stake in the company with an investment of EUR 3.5 million (USD 4.6 million). Alizé Pharma SAS’ historical investors: Octalfa, Sham Innovation Santé, CEMA and Tab Consulting have also contributed. Since its creation in 2007, Alizé Pharma SAS has raised a total of EUR 10 million (USD 13.2 million).
On this occasion, Olivier Martinez and Mounia Chaoui (on behalf of Bpifrance and Sham Innovation Santé) will join the board of directors at Alizé Pharma SAS. Its other members are Gilles Alberici from Octalfa, Andre de Villers from CEMA and Thierry Abribat from TAB Consulting.
AZP-531 is a stabilized analog of unacylated ghrelin, a gastro-intestinal hormone. It is under development by Alizé Pharma SAS for use in various metabolic and cardiovascular indications. Two new clinical trials are expected to be launched in the last quarter of 2014. The aim is to provide preliminary data on the efficacy of AZP-531 in two indications: hyperphagia associated with Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, and type 2 diabetes, a metabolic disease accounting for 90 per cent of the world’s diabetics (WHO, 2013). The trials follow on from two Phase I clinical trials carried out in healthy volunteers over the last 12 months.
“This injection of EUR 5 million (USD 6.6 million) marks a fundamental step forward for Alizé Pharma. It will help generate the first efficacy data for AZP-531 in the target indications”, said Thierry Abribat, manager of TAB Consulting, president of Alizé Pharma. “We wish to thank our existing investors for their renewed confidence and we are delighted to welcome Bpifrance via the InnoBio fund. Their involvement is solid recognition of our organization and the AZP-531 program.”
“Our investment is driven by the significant potential of Alizé Pharma, particularly its AZP-531 program, and the relevance of its business model, which is wellsuited to the new requirements of the pharmaceutical industry,” said Olivier Martinez, investment director at Bpifrance. “The Alizé team has sound expertise and the experience that is needed for successful development.”
About the AZP-531/UAG (UnAcylated Ghrelin) program
The aim of the UAG program is to develop AZP-531, an analog of unacylated ghrelin, the first product of a new therapeutic class for the treatment of metabolic and cardiovascular disorders. Alizé Pharma SAS started the program five years ago in close collaboration with the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam and the University of Turin. Preclinical and clinical data suggest that unacylated ghrelin and its analogs have the therapeutic potential to address unmet medical needs in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, Prader-Willi syndrome and some ischemia-related conditions, via a novel mechanism of action. In 2014 the AZP-531/UAG program enters a phase II trial in hyperphagia in Prader-Willi syndrome and in a phase Ib trial in type 2 diabetes. Alizé Pharma has a portfolio of 35 pending and granted patents which protect the UAG analogs and their therapeutic applications at an international level.
About Alizé Pharma
Alizé Pharma is a group of companies specialized in the development of innovative biopharmaceutical drugs, proteins and peptides for the treatment of metabolic and rare diseases. The management is a team of drug development experts and the board of directors has a breadth of international experience. Its business strategy is to advance programs based on medical innovation to the clinical stage and establish partnerships with pharmaceutical companies to secure both near and long-term revenue streams. Since its creation in 2007 the group has raised EUR 13.3 million (USD 18 million) from private and institutional investors. It has advanced two programs to the clinical phase and has also signed its first industrial partnership. The first group entity, Alizé Pharma SAS, is working on a peptide derived from unacylated ghrelin (AZP-531). This is in Phase II clinical development for the treatment of Prader-Willi syndrome and in Phase Ib trial in type 2 diabetes. The second entity, Alizé Pharma II SAS, is focusing on the development of ASPAREC®, a new pegylated recombinant L-asparaginase for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). It is partnered with Jazz Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: JAZZ) and is currently in Phase I clinical development.
About Bpifrance and InnoBio
The public investment bank Bpifrance is the result of the merger of business funding and investment organizations OSEO, FSI, CDC Entreprises and FSI Regions. It was established by French law on December 31, 2012. It has two shareholders, the French State and the Caisse des Depots (the French Deposits and Consignments Fund). The aim of Bpifrance is to support businesses, (SMEs, mid-cap companies and larger entities of strategic importance to the French economy), from their seed capital stages up to stock market listing. They offer access to credit, collateral and equity funding. Bpifrance also provides assistance and enhanced support services for innovation, export and external growth. They act as a single point of contact regarding the funding and investment needs of entrepreneurs in every region.
InnoBio is a EUR 173 million venture capital fund managed by Bpifrance, which is also an investor in the fund. Sanofi, GSK, Roche, Novartis, Pfizer, Lilly, Ipsen, Takeda and Boehringer-Ingelheim are among the other investors. The main aim of the fund is to make equity investments in innovative companies providing technology, products and services for health care.
initiative OCTALFA was founded by the Alberici family to support groundbreaking advances in healthcare and sustainable development and to improve the lives of people with cancer and disabilities.
Its two investment companies, Octalfa and Otonnale, provide capital (up to €2.5m in one or more financial rounds) for innovative France-based start-ups in healthcare and sustainable development sectors. Since 2007, more than ten companies have been financed.
Octalfa also supports Octalfa 360 enjeux d’avenir (a French mutual fund), which focuses on life sciences, energy, and cleantech listed companies; and R2V, a seed-capital fund targeting businesses in South-East of France).
Finally, Octalfa, through the Fondation Dominique & Tom Alberici, finances and manages humanitarian projects to improve the lives of people with cancer and disabilities in France and Madagascar. To date, this foundation, established in 2008, has supported nearly 50 such projects.
About Sham Innovation Santé
Founded in May 2014, Sham Innovation Santé is an innovation capital vehicle controlled and held by Sham, a mutual insurer specialized in risk management for health care, social welfare and community health organizations. Advised by Turenne Capital, Sham Innovation Santé’s mission is to support innovative businesses in the health care sector through the growth and development phases of their life cycle.
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