RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Dignify Therapeutics, a virtual drug development company in Research Triangle Park, has received a $3.6 million federal grant to help develop its lead drug candidate for a future Phase 1 clinical study.

The CREATE Bio grant is a three-year award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) of the National Institutes of Health. It will support Dignify’s development of a novel, on-demand, drug-induced voiding therapy for bladder and bowel dysfunction.

Dignify Therapeutics

“This award from NINDS offers further validation of our scientific and drug development expertise,” said Ed Burgard, Ph.D., principal investigator on the grant and Dignify’s president.

If successful, the company’s therapy would eliminate or reduce the need for life-long, multiple-daily catheterizations of the bladder and manual bowel programs. It would improve the quality of life for people with voiding dysfunction while reducing health care costs.

Worldwide catheter sales total $3 billion per year, while health care expenditures associated with voiding dysfunction cost $7 billion per year in the United States alone.

In the last five years, Dignify has received 11 grants from NIH agencies that have provided the company with over $8 million in funding for development of novel bladder and bowel therapies.

“With this new award, we will continue to develop new treatments for individuals in desperate need,” Burgard said.

Dignify was founded by a team of serial entrepreneurs who are internationally recognized scientists and clinicians. Its mission is to provide safe, effective, practical and convenient “on-demand” pharmaceutical agents to treat bladder and bowel voiding dysfunctions in the elderly and in people with spinal injuries, multiple sclerosis, other neurological disorders or diabetes.

Dignify Therapeutics lands $3.15M in equity financing

RTP startup Dignify Therapeutics wins $3.1M in grants

The company’s drug-development strategy focuses on well-established biological targets and repositions compounds that are proven to be safe. The aims are to increase speed to market, reduce development costs and reduce risk.

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center has supported Dignify with a $50,000 Company Inception Loan in 2013 to help establish the company and a $250,000 Small Business Research Loan in 2014 to support preclinical drug development.

The Biotech Center’s funding helped Dignify attract equity financing from RA Capital Management of Boston, Eshelman Ventures of Wilmington and angel investors. The company also received $115,000 from the state Department of Commerce’s One North Carolina Small Business Program.

Dignify is located at the First Flight Venture Center in Research Triangle Park.

 (C) N.C. Biotech Center