Swiss biopharmaceutical Lumavita raised an additional CHF 6 million ($5.5 million) in an extension to its series A financing round with new investor, HealthCap, and existing investor Endeavour Vision. The new funds take the total raised in this series A round to CHF 24 million ($22.2 million). The money will be used to further commercialization of its vaginitis drug, advance clinical evaluations to improve dosing regimen, and move its preclinical HCV candidate forward.
Founded last year, Lumavita specializes in the development of anti-infectives for women’s health. In March 2009 the company received preliminary marketing approval in Switzerland for its first product, pentamycin, a vaginal tablet for the treatment of vaginitis caused by bacterial, fungal, and protozoan infections. Lumavita estimates the global market for vaginitis therapy is some $2.5 billion.
Some of the new funds raised will be used to expand Lumavita’s commercial partnering network for the drug, which it expects to file for approval in over 100 countries in the near-term. Pentamycin will be sold in Switzerland by Lumavita’s Swiss partner, Permamed, under the brand name Pruri-Ex®. Pending approvals, it will be sold as FemiFect® in other territories.
A Phase IIb development program is also under way to investigate alternative doses of pentamycin in shorter treatment courses. These Phase IIb studies will form the basis of future registration of pentamycin in the EU and North America.
Lumavita is also developing LMV-601, a phosphatidylcholine-specific phospholipase C (PC-PLC) inhibitor, for the treatment of HPV. It is currently in late-stage preclinical development. The company estimates peak sales of the drug for the HPV indication could be some $300 million to $500 million.
LMV-601 has a novel mechanism of action that blocks both viral DNA replication and viral gene expression through the inhibition of PC-PLC, according to Lumavita. The firm claims that it may also have applications against other viruses including H5N1, SARS, and CMV.