Money will be used to develop preclinical type 2 diabetes candidates and platform technology.

Catabasis Pharmaceuticals reports the closing of a $39.6 million Series A financing led by SV Life Sciences, Clarus Ventures, and MedImmune Ventures. Proceeds will be used to progress its lead program, which targets type 2 diabetes and is in preclinical studies. The money will also be used to further development of its technology in additional inflammatory and metabolic diseases. 

Catabasis was founded in 2008 on an approach that targets inflammation to treat complex human diseases. Steven Shoelson, M.D., Ph.D., from Joslin Diabetes Center and one of the firm’s founders, has authored studies showing that salsalate, a prodrug form of salicylate with anti-inflammatory activity, improves glucose homeostasis in people with type 2 diabetes.

“Catabasis is using its novel, proprietary SMART-linker technology platform to develop potent and effective medicines to treat inflammation by harnessing the therapeutic potential of salicylate and the beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids to simultaneously inhibit pro-inflammatory pathways and activate anti-inflammatory pathways,” explains Jill Milne, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO. “Based on our progress to date, we expect to file an investigational new drug application in 2011.” 

Using its SMART-linker technology platform, Catabasis says that it is able to bring together the clinically proven activities of salicylate and omega-3 fatty acids, amplifying the beneficial effects of both compounds. The company is developing small molecules that would be orally available and effective with once-daily dosing.

“Recent studies suggest that salsalate may provide a new avenue for treatment in type 2 diabetes,” says Dr. Shoelson. “Catabasis is rethinking inflammation by pairing salicylate and omega-3 fatty acids to produce synergistic efficacy. This should target the inflammatory pathways that contribute to the pathogenesis of many diseases including type 2 diabetes, thereby returning the body to homeostasis or balance.”

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