Two Silicon Valley-based venture capital firms lead a $16 million Series A round of financing for Scioderm, which is tackling rate skin disorder that affects “butterfly children.”
The funding was announced Friday.
Leading the round was Morgenthaler Ventures.
Technology Partners also participated in the deal.
Last month, Scioderm disclosed raising $1 million.
It is preparing for clinical trials of an experimental drug addressing a rare genetic skin disease that has no cure or effective treatment.
The financing follows a review last month from the Food and Drug Administration that allowed the Raleigh company’s investigational new drug application for its lead drug candidate, SD-101, to proceed. SD-101 is a topical treatment that Scioderm is developing to treat Epidermolysis Bullosa, or EB. The rare genetic condition results in extremely fragile skin that blisters or tears at the slightest amount of friction. EB also affects internal organs and bodily systems.
Children who have EB have are sometimes called “butterfly children” because their skin is as fragile as the wings of a butterfly. Patients who have the most severe forms of EB experience scarring, disfigurement and disability. They usually die before the age of 30. The only treatment options are wound care, pain management and preventative bandaging.
“While there are no effective treatments for EB currently, the early clinical results that have been recently observed by Scioderm collaborators give us confidence that an effective treatment is possible, and we are pleased to be investing along with Technology Partners and a very experienced management team hopefully to make such a treatment available for patient use in the near future” said Ralph Christoffersen, head of the Life Sciences Team at Morgenthaler.
Added Roger Quy of Technology Partners: “We are pleased to be able to contribute to a treatment for such a devastating disease in children. Our investment in Scioderm is supported by our confidence in the experience of the founding team and early clinical results.”
After announcing the results of the FDA’s review in February, Scioderm said a phase I study would start “in coming months.” A phase 2B/3 study could start in the second half of the year.
Scioderm focuses on developing new treatments for chronic skin diseases. SD-101 is a topical cream that Scioderm says can deliver the active pharmaceutical ingredient across the skin’s various layers. The company believes the experimental treatment has potential uses treating diabetic ulcers and psoriasis. But the company has chosen to pursue EB as SD-101’s first target. Scioderm says the FDA has designated SD-101 as an orphan drug, a designation reserved for new therapies being developed for rare conditions that have few, if any effective treatments. As an orphan drug, approval of SD-101 would qualify for a longer period of exclusivity as well as financial incentives for Scioderm.
Scioderm last year released SD-101 results from an open-label clinical trial, a study in which both the researchers and the patients know which treatment is being administered. Those results showed that application of SD-101 resulted in closure of 85 percent of lesions and a 55 percent reduction in body surface area coverage of lesions and erosions.
The $1 million in financing was raised from two investors, according to the filing. Scioderm’s chairman, CEO and co-founder is Robert Ryan, former chief regulatory officer for Quintiles’ PharmaBio division, the former investment arm of the Durham clinical research organization. Ryan has also held senior regulatory roles at Wilmington-based CRO PPD.
“I am very pleased to have Morgenthaler Ventures and Technology Partners as investors as we continue the development of SD-101 in this serious medical condition,” Ryan said in a statement.
“We are fortunate to have Dr. Chris Christoffersen and Dr. Roger Quy , who are seasoned industry professionals with track records of successful investments, join as members of Scioderm’s Board of Directors,” said Robert Ryan , Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Scioderm. “Treatment of the debilitating skin effects seen in EB patients is a significant unmet need, and we believe that SD-101 has the potential to change the course of treatment in this disease. In order to expedite the development program of SD-101, we are planning over the next few months to identify investigators and potential patients interested in participating in our upcoming clinical study, which we anticipate to begin in the fall of 2013.”