Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cebix Taps New CEO, Pockets $30.9M In Advance Of Phase IIb Trial

UPDATED: Cebix has made its announcement, revealing that the round's size is actually $30.9 million.

Cebix Inc. is preparing to announce a $21.3 $30.9 million Series B round of funding from insider investors and introduce a new chief executive, IN VIVO Blog has learned. The La Jolla, Calif.-based start-up will use the cash to fund a Phase IIb study on Ersatta (mono-pegylated form of C-peptide), its treatment for peripheral neuropathy associated with type 1 diabetes.

More details are expected to emerge soon. Full coverage will appear in The Pink Sheet “DAILY.”

Joel Martin, late of Isis Pharmaceuticals spinout Altair Therapeutics, has taken the reins as Cebix’s new CEO. The company hasn’t yet made clear what became of James Callaway, identified as Cebix president and CEO in this 2011 news release; his LinkedIn page says he left the company in June. Altair was established in 2007 to house respiratory drugs built on antisense technology, but was reacquired by Isis and dissolved after its lead program failed to show efficacy, according to a report. Martin was previously a partner with Forward Ventures, an Altair investor.

Cebix’s Series A investors, including InterWest Partners, Sofinnova Ventures, and Thomas, McNerny & Partners, returned for the new round. (Thomas, McNerney was also an Altair investor.) Cebix had raised $16.8 million in its first round. The start-up has completed a Phase I/II study on Ersatta, which showed a favorable efficacy signal with no serious adverse effects. Beginning in early 2013, it plans to study the drug’s effect on nerve conduction velocity in patients who self-administer the once-weekly injection over the course of a year. The drug is a replacement therapy for C-peptide, a well-studied biomarker of insulin secretion that is also known to be bioactive; the peptide's absence has been linked to nerve damage. About 60%-70% of type 1 diabetes patients, including 1 million in the U.S., develop peripheral neuropathy, according to Cebix.

In a Sept. 12 regulatory filing, Cebix said it had raised just under $13 million of a planned $30.9 million equity round.

Thanks to Flickr user mikeschmid, who saved us some change on photo licensing by sharing via Creative Commons.

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