University of Los Angeles, California spin-out C3 Jian raised $30 million in an equity financing round to progress its lead peptide drug for dental caries (tooth decay or cavities) into U.S. clinical trials. C3 is developing peptide-based specifically targeted antimicrobial peptides (STAMP) for oral health based on a cell-signaling platform licensed exclusively from the University of California.
“We intend on maximizing the value of the company by advancing our products into human clinical trials,” comments Todd R. Patrick, C3 president and CEO. “Although we may seek strategic partners for the ultimate commercialization, these funds give us the wherewithal to take the programs quite far in clinical development while maintaining full control and ownership.”
C3’s platforms harnesses signal transduction molecules for the design of targeted therapeutic or diagnostics that attach directly to the cell (bacteria) of interest. The firm says its technology has led to the discovery of lead compounds that selectively diagnose and treat the cause of dental caries as well as disorders of mineralization.
STAMP candidates are designed to selectively kill microbial pathogens within biofilms, while leaving the remainder of the microbial ecosystem undisturbed. The Sm STAMP therapeutic candidates are specifically active against dental cavity-causing activity Streptococcus mutans.
The firm is separately developing a simple, quantitative point of care (POC) diagnostic based on the STAMP platform, to quantitatively diagnose S. mutans infection in dental patients. The diagnostic is designed to help identify patients with significant S. mutans infection, who could then be prescribed therapy.
C3 has in addition developed a series of novel biomineralization modulating peptides that it says bind calcified surfaces in a tissue-specific manner. Such peptides could feasibly be used to promote or inhibit mineralization and have potential applications in dental and other medical applications such as enhancing mineralization and osseointegration in teeth and bones or treating disorders such as osteomyelitis, osteosarcoma, or osteoporosis.
In October last year the firm moved its U.S. headquarters and R&D operations to Marina del Rey, California, where it has taken over a 35,000 square foot biotechnology facility at the Marina Business Center. Also in October C3 and West China School of Stomatology at Sichuan University in China opened an 8,000 square foot clinical research center (CRC) at the University’s main hospital and dental teaching facility, which will test new oral healthcare products in human clinical trials. At the time Todd Patrick, C3 president and CEO, said it expected that the first clinical trial undertaken at the CRC will be the Sm STAMPS product targeting dental caries.