Sangart raised $50 million in an equity financing round with existing investors, led by Leucadia National. The new funds will be used to progress development of lead product MP4OX for the treatment of severe traumatic hemorrhage, and a second candidate, MP4CO, for treating sickle cell disease.
Sangart’s product platform is based on MP4, an investigational biopharmaceutical designed to work alongside standard of care therapies including red blood cell transfusion, by enhancing the perfusion and oxygenation of ischemic tissues through targeted oxygen delivery in the capillaries. The firm claims this mechanism of action rapidly provides oxygen directly where it is needed for patients experiencing trauma-related oxygen deprivation. MP4OX has been evaluated in nine Phase I and II studies in a number of settings, including urologic or orthopedic surgery, limb ischemia, and trauma.
Sangart is currently focusing on clinical development of MP4OX in trauma patients suffering from lactic acidosis due to severe hemorrhagic shock. In September 2010 the firm received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to support preclinical development of its MP4 platform for applications in traumatic hemorrhage and ischemia. In December 2010 the firm signed a CRADA with the U.S. Navy to evaluate MP4 as a treatment for traumatic brain injury in combat casualties.
The MP4 molecule can also be modified to carry other gases, and MP4CO is designed to deliver therapeutic, nontoxic levels of carbon monoxide (CO) to patients suffering from a sickle cell crisis. The CO stabilizes abnormal hemoglobin S, and prevents sickling of red blood cells. Sangart suggests the addition of MP4CO to existing treatment protocols may alleviate pain associated with a sickle cell crisis and potentially reduce the duration of a crisis, which could reduce hospitalization times and improve quality of life. In November 2010 MP4CO was granted orphan drug designation in the U.S. for use in treating acute painful sickling crises in patients with sickle cell disease.