Dezima Pharma in-licensed a cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitor DEZ-001 (formerly TA-8995) from Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma. Founded in 2012 and seed-financed by Forbion Capital Partners and BioGeneration Ventures, Dezima is a biotechnology company that aims to develop drugs in the field of dyslipidemia.

DEZ-001 has, according to the firm, completed single and multiple ascending-dose studies showing a notable effect on high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels in healthy volunteers with a favorable side-effect profile. The company plans to support clinical development of DEZ-001 to Phase III clinical trials. Professor John Kastelein, founder of Dezima, co-founder of UniQure, and advisor to Forbion Capital Partners, identified DEZ-001 as a potentially potent and safe CETP inhibitor.

At the same time, Dezima is expanding its scientific advisory board with the addition of two experts in the dyslipidemia space: Philip Barter, M.D., Ph.D., president of the International Atherosclerosis Society and conjoint professor at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; and Bryan Brewer, M.D., director at Washington Cardiovascular Associates and senior research consultant of lipoprotein and atherosclerosis research at the Medstar Research Institute, Washington, D.C.

“CETP inhibitors hold enormous potential to further normalize lipid levels in millions of dyslipidemic patients worldwide,” Professor Kastelein, who is also Dezima’s CSO and chairman of its scientific advisory board, commented. “This product was a compelling in-licensing prospect because of its promising early clinical efficacy and safety profile. By applying a smart development program, DEZ-001 could potentially enter the market at a time similar to competing CETP inhibitors.”

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