Proceeds to advance portfolio of selective A3 adenosine receptor agonists through human proof-of-concept studies −

− Company appoints Dr. Charles Cohen as Chief Scientific Officer −

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 06, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- BioIntervene Inc., a privately-held biopharmaceutical company pioneering the development of first-in-class, selective A3 adenosine receptor (A3AR) agonists, today announced that it has entered into a $30 million Series A financing, led by MPM Capital. The proceeds of the financing will be used to advance the Company’s lead program, BIO-205, through human proof-of-concept studies in neuropathic pain as well as to advance its portfolio of A3AR agonists for a potentially broad range of chronic inflammatory and neurodegenerative indications. BIO-205 is anticipated to enter Phase 1 clinical trials in the second half of 2020.

To provide scientific leadership, the Company also announced today the appointment of Dr. Charles Cohen as Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Cohen has spent the past three decades in the biopharmaceutical industry with positions at Xenon Pharmaceuticals, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Merck & Co. and Bayer Pharmaceuticals. He has held senior scientific positions and has published widely in the area of pain and more broadly in cellular neuroscience and neurology. Dr. Cohen received his Ph.D. in Biophysics and Theoretical Biology from the University of Chicago and conducted post-doctoral studies at the University of Chicago and Yale University.

“We’re delighted to welcome Charlie to BioIntervene; he is uniquely suited to lead our scientific efforts,” commented Ed Hurwitz, Executive Chairman of BioIntervene. “Charlie is a highly accomplished neuroscientist with broad experience in pain research. His expertise will be invaluable to translating our emerging understanding of the pharmacology of the adenosine A3 receptor into a new class of drugs,” added Hurwitz.   

“BioIntervene’s pioneering work on the adenosine A3 receptor is supported by a compelling body of published and unpublished data demonstrating the promising activity of these compounds for a range of chronic inflammatory indications,” commented Dr. Cohen. “I am particularly excited about the strong preclinical package assembled on BIO-205 that demonstrates profound activity in multiple models of neuropathic and inflammatory pain as both a single agent and in combination with morphine and gabapentin. If we can reproduce these data in our clinical trials, BIO-205 has the potential to ameliorate tremendous suffering while also playing a key role in addressing the opioid epidemic,” added Cohen.

BioIntervene was founded in 2014 by Dr. Daniela Salvemini, Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology at Saint Louis University, who discovered the roles of the A3AR in neuropathic pain and neurodegenerative conditions. The Company was formed to advance the work arising out of a multi-year collaboration with Dr. Ken Jacobson, Chief of the Molecular Recognition Section, and the Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Their efforts included the synthesis of highly selective A3AR agonists (>10,000-fold selectivity over other adenosine receptor subtypes) and the use of these compounds to elucidate the physiology of the A3 receptor. This work has led to numerous peer-reviewed publications as well as the filing of a portfolio of patents that have been exclusively licensed to BioIntervene from Saint Louis University and the NIH.

“After more than seven years of work uncovering the pharmacology driven by this pathway and developing highly selective A3AR agonists, I am delighted that the program now has the resources and leadership to advance a drug candidate into the clinic for neuropathic pain, and to pursue a deeper understanding of A3AR biology,” said Dr. Salvemini. “I look forward to continuing to collaborate with BioIntervene to advance the Company’s understanding of this pathway and in particular its potential role in neurodegenerative disorders.”

BioIntervene’s Leadership team also includes:

  • Ed Hurwitz, J.D, M.B.A., Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors: Mr. Hurwitz is currently a Managing Director of MPM Capital.  Previously, Mr. Hurwitz held senior leadership roles at Alta Partners, Affymetrix, and Robertson Stephens & Co.
     
  • Gary Patou, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and member of Board of Directors: Dr. Patou, is currently an Executive Partner at MPM Capital and was formerly Senior Vice President at GlaxoSmithKline. Dr. Patou has served as Chief Medical Officer or head of clinical development at numerous MPM portfolio companies including Blade Therapeutics, Chiasma, True North Therapeutics, Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Peplin Ltd. and Genesoft Pharmaceuticals.
     
  • Keith Bley, Ph.D., Chief Development Officer: Dr. Bley has over 25 years of drug development and research experience at biopharmaceutical companies that include Antiva Biosciences, NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, NeurogesX, Roche Pharmaceuticals and Syntex.
     
  • Gary J. Bennett, Ph.D., Co-founder and member of the Board of Directors: Dr. Bennett has over 35 years of experience as a basic science researcher focusing on neuropathic pain physiology. He is currently Adjunct Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, University of California, San Diego, and was previously on the faculties of McGill University and MCP Hahnemann University.
     
  • Aaron Coe, MBA, VP Finance, Administration and Corporate Development: Mr. Coe has been building and scaling operations for companies for over 20 years. Previous companies include PersonaLogic, Promentix and Calistoga Pharmaceuticals.

About Neuropathic Pain
Neuropathic pain is a complex, chronic disease that is commonly referred to as nerve pain since it occurs when peripheral nerves and certain regions of the brain are damaged by trauma, disease or toxins. Frequent causes of neuropathic pain include nerve damage after surgery or trauma, herpes zoster infections (shingles), cancer and cancer chemotherapeutic drugs, neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis and metabolic conditions such as diabetes. About one in three Americans experience chronic pain, and of those, one in five experience neuropathic pain1. One study estimates that as many as 10 percent of Americans experience some form of neuropathic pain2.

About BioIntervene
BioIntervene, Inc. is a preclinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to the discovery and development of effective and non-addictive medicines for chronic pain and other chronic inflammatory and neurodegenerative disorders. The Company was founded in 2014 based on insights from research at Saint Louis University and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). BioIntervene’s founding team has pioneered the understanding of adenosine A3 receptor biology, with a focus on developing first-in-class, selective adenosine A3 receptor agonists. For more information, please visit www.biointervene.com.

1. BMJ 2014;348:f7656 http://accurateclinic.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Neuropathic-pain-mechanisms-and-their-clinical-implications-2014.pdf

2. PAIN 155(4) pp. 654–662 (2014) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304395913006106

Source: BioIntervene Inc.