Pharvaris reported raising $66 million in a second round of financing, allowing the company to advance the clinical development of PHA121, its lead investigational oral therapy for hereditary angioedema (HAE).
“This financing and our outstanding syndicate of investors positions Pharvaris as a clinical leader for the development of oral treatments for patients with HAE,” Berndt Modig, CEO and co-founder of Pharvaris, said in a press release.
People with hereditary angioedema produce excessive amounts of a protein called bradykinin, which causes small blood vessels to expand, leading to sudden and prolonged swelling attacks.
Bradykinin sets this process in motion by binding to the bradykinin B2 receptor. Among currently approved HEA therapies, only Firazyr (icatibant), manufactured by Shire, acts directly by binding to the B2 receptor.
HAE patients are trained to inject themselves with Firazyr at first signs of an acute attack. The injections stop the attack and reduce swelling.
PHA121 is a potential oral alternative to Firazyr in that it uses the same mechanisms.
“The demands for less invasive routes of drug administration, more convenient dosing regimens, and additional treatment options support the development of an oral therapy to improve the quality of life of patients with HAE,” Modig said.
In preclinical studies in animal models of HAE and other diseases caused by excess bradykinin, oral treatment with PHA121 rapidly blocked bradykinin’s action by effectively binding to the B2 receptor.
“Patients with HAE are eager for effective oral therapies. The development of a novel, oral B2-receptor antagonist could represent a new standard of care for the treatment and prevention of HAE and other B2-receptor-mediated conditions,” said Jochen Knolle, PhD, Pharvaris’ chief science officer and co-founder.
The company is conducting a Phase 1 randomized and placebo-controlled clinical trial testing PHA121 in healthy volunteers. It will evaluate the treatment’s safety and tolerability, as well as how the molecule behaves inside the body.
Pharvaris anticipates opening an ascending dose clinical study of PHA121 early next year.