Sermonix Pharmaceuticals, a Columbus, OH-based biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of female-specific oncology products, completed a $4.2m seed financing.
Backers included new investors Richard DeSchutter, former chief executive officer of G.D. Searle, DuPont Pharmaceuticals and vice chairman of Monsanto, as well as strategic investor Endoceutics Inc. of Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.
The company intends to use the funds to expand operations and prepare for entry of investigational drug lasofoxifene into a Phase II clinical trial in Estrogen Receptor Positive (ER+) Metastatic Breast Cancer.
Founded in 2014 by David Portman, MD, a clinical researcher and expert in women’s health, menopause and selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) therapy, Sermonix Pharmaceuticals focuses on bringing female-specific oncology products through proof of concept, clinical development, and regulatory approval.
Its lead product, oral lasofoxifene, with exclusive worldwide licensing rights obtained from Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Inc., has been evaluated in a comprehensive worldwide phase I-III clinical development program involving more than 15,000 women. An 83% reduction in ER+ breast cancer was seen in a five-year PEARL osteoporosis trial of over 8,500 women. Reductions in the risk of vertebral and non-vertebral fractures, and benefits on vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA) have been demonstrated as well (Cummings SR et al New England Journal of Medicine 2010).
The company is focused on novel activity recently identified in the treatment of endocrine-resistant breast cancer, with exclusive rights to new Duke University intellectual property in this area.
The Sermonix internal management team, led by Dr. Portman, also includes:
– James Symons, MS, PhD, Vice President of Clinical Development,
– Paul Plourde, MD, VP Oncology Clinical Development,
– Barry Komm, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer,
– Elizabeth Attias, MMSc, ScD, Vice President of Business,
– Miriam Portman, M.D., Chief Operating Officer, and
– Anthony Wild, Non-Executive Chairman of the Board.