Austin-based startup biopharmaceutical company Lumos Pharma, a drug developer specifically targeting solutions for Rare and Neglected Diseases, announced today that a new Series A financing initiative has netted the company $14 million in fresh funding. The new funding round included investors Santé Ventures and New Enterprise Associates (NEA). Santé Ventures made other significant investments into Texas biotech firms in 2013, both with Austin’s TVA Medical, Inc. in June and Georgetown, Texas-based Molecular Templates in October.
Lumos Pharma plans to use the new funding to support continued preclinical and clinical development for LUM-001, the company’s small molecule therapeutic that is being designed to treat Creatine Transporter Deficiency (CTD), an extremely rare inborn error of metabolism. Thus far, Lumos’ own preclinical studies has revealed LUM-001 to have promising disease modifying potential as a treatment for CTD.
Lumos Pharma’s Founder, President, and CEO Rick Hawkins commented on how this new round of funding will directly impact the continued development of LUM-001: “We are extremely pleased to announce the closing of our Series A financing round from Sante Ventures and NEA,” adding, “Sante and NEA’s deep knowledge of drug development in the rare disease space will be valuable assets to our company and to the development of our lead compound. We are absolutely committed to bringing a much needed therapeutic to the patients afflicted with CTD and their families. The patients remain our first priority.”
For more information about Lumos’ Creatine Transporter Deficiency study, [adrotate banner=”51″].
According to the Office of Rare Diseases (ORD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), X-linked creatine transporter deficiency, or a subtype of X-linked creatine transporter deficiency, is considered a “rare disease,” affecting less than 200,000 people in the US population. as a result, the FDA has granted Lumos Pharma’s LUM-001 the orphan designation, which gives the testing and development of the drug a faster track toward commercialization, assuming its efficacy is proven in clinical trials. Thus far, the promising evidence has brought support from major influencers in the NTD sphere who are looking to foster increased drug development for diseases such as Creatine Transporter Deficiency, such as the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Lumos Pharma has partnered with NCATS’ Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases (TRND) of the development of the company’s treatment for CTD.
Mr. Hawkins spoke to the value of having the NCATS involved in the project: “We are very grateful for the ongoing collaboration with TRND staff, and together with our new financial partners, Lumos is in an excellent position to succeed,” he said, adding, “TRND’s dedication and contribution toward the development of therapies for rare diseases is nothing short of astounding.”
According to a company press release, “Creatine Transporter Deficiency (CTD) is an inborn error of metabolism caused by a defect in the x-linked creatine transporter SLC6A8 gene, and falls within the general descriptive category of an Autism Spectrum Disorder. A defect in the SLC6A8 gene causes a defect in the transport of creatine across the blood-brain barrier, resulting in a near complete absence of cerebral creatine concentrations. The primary clinical manifestations of the disorder are x-linked mental retardation and global developmental delay, severe expressive speech and language delay, autistic behavior, and epilepsy.” The combination of Creatine Transporter Deficiency’s low patient population and complexity of the disease presents a completely unmet medical need in healthcare, and is precisely why Lumos is working on a treatment for it, particularly given CEO Rick Hawkins’ proven 30-year track record in the rare disease space. Over the course of his biotech career, he has successfully gained marketing approval for multiple orphan drugs (including Somavert®).
Kevin Lalande, Managing Director, Santé Ventures, who will sit on the Board of Directors, commented that, “Rick and his team have made terrific progress in the development of this promising new therapeutic agent over the last two years since we first started following the company,” adding, “Santé Ventures is pleased to help provide the equity required to advance this drug through clinical trials and closer to widespread commercial availability for this important patient population.”
Likewise, Ed Mathers, Partner at NEA, stated: “We are delighted to be working with Rick, the Lumos team and our partners at Sante Ventures on this important product. CTD has no current treatment options for the patients who suffer from this disease, and the work that Lumos has done gives hope for a future therapy.”
Lumos Pharma has announced that the new funding will directly lead to an immediate initiation of preclinical and clinical development of LUM-001 with the goal of receiving marketing authorization from regulatory bodies worldwide.