Lumena Pharmaceuticals, a San Diego, CA-based developer of oral therapeutics for rare liver diseases, secured $23m in Series A financing.
Lumena will use the funds to advance the clinical development of LUM001, its lead product candidate for the treatment of cholestatic liver disease in pediatric and adult patients.
LUM001 is being developed as a possible therapy for progressive liver damage and debilitating symptoms associated with a number of liver conditions that result in impaired bile acid flow and retention of bile acids in the liver.
In conjunction with the funding, David R. Savello , Ph.D., Scientific Advisory Board, Pappas Ventures; John McKearn , Ph.D., managing director, RiverVest Venture Partners, and Robert Alexander , Ph.D., executive chairman, ZS Pharma and formerly a general partner at Alta Partners, will join Lumena’s board of directors.
Led by Mike Grey , president, CEO and co-founder, Alejandro Dorenbaum , M.D., chief medical officer, Bradley T. Keller , Ph.D., vice president, research, Alana B. McNulty , chief financial officer, and Slava Gedulin, M.D., Ph.D., vice president, pharmacology, Lumena Pharmaceuticals licensed LUM001 from Pfizer where it was originally evaluated as a cholesterol lowering drug. It has been studied in 12 clinical trials in more than 1,400 subjects and is now positioned for progress through late phase clinical development.
The company also licensed the patent rights and a package of clinical and non-clinical data from Sanofi for LUM002, a selective inhibitor of ASBT, which was previously in phase 1 development by Sanofi as a cholesterol lowering drug. Lumena plans to complete the Phase I clinical program of LUM002 in healthy volunteers later this year as a first step in launching the development program for this compound.