Montréal, Québec, August 11th, 2014 – FAAH Pharma Inc., today announced an investment by TVM Life Science Ventures VII into the company. FAAH Pharma Inc. will continue the clinical development of a compound with the potential to treat neuropathic pain. The asset has been tested in the clinic in healthy volunteers and will be studied in a Phase 2a trial. The company is fully funded to this stage by TVM Life Science Ventures VII.
The compound was originally discovered and developed by Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a company located in Cambridge, MA. “Infinity is pleased to have its fatty acid amide hydrolase, or FAAH, inhibitor advance in clinical development. The inhibition of FAAH increases levels of anandamide, a naturally occurring cannabinoid in humans, which we believe could result in a prolonged local analgesic response to pain,” stated Vito Palombella, chief scientific officer at Infinity. “Pain remains a serious problem for which patients are seeking new and unique treatments to bring relief. So we look forward to the focus and dedication that FAAH Pharma Inc. will bring towards rapidly advancing this program.”
The primary indication to be initially studied in Phase 2a clinical development with the compound is postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), a syndrome of intractable neuropathic pain that follows what is commonly known as shingles, caused by an outbreak of the herpes zoster (chicken pox) virus. PHN affects approximately 20% of individuals infected with herpes zoster and is more prevalent in individuals over the age of 55 . Some treatments are available, but an important need remains for treatments to abate the pain symptoms.
“TVM Capital Life Science is proud to add this investment into a clinical stage pain asset to its portfolio of project-focused companies. We believe that human proof-of-concept from a Phase 2a trial will provide strong clinical validation for this well-known target in postherpetic neuralgia, and a basis for development in other neuropathic pain indications,” stated Dr. Cynthia Lavoie, General Partner with TVM Capital Life Science. Dr. Lavoie will be joining the board of directors of FAAH Pharma Inc. and will be joined by Dr. Gail Farfel, Chief Development and Regulatory Officer at Marinus Pharmaceuticals, and Dr. Franz Hefti, President and CEO of Acumen Pharmaceuticals.
TVM Life Science Ventures VII, a venture capital fund domiciled in Montréal, Québec, follows a capital-efficient investment approach to developing pharmaceutical assets to human proof-of-concept in single-asset companies. TVM Life Science Ventures VII is a unique collaboration between TVM Capital Life Science and Eli Lilly and Company to finance and access innovation and as a way to manage risk and share reward.
“Neurodegeneration remains a key therapeutic area for Lilly, given our strong legacy and expertise in this area,” said Elaine Sullivan, vice president of Lilly global external research and development. “TVM Life Science Ventures VII is an important part of our strategy as we strive to discover innovative medicines in multiple therapeutic areas of great unmet need, including pain, so we can help make life better for people around the world.”
As part of this partnership, FAAH Pharma’s management team of Dr. Gosse Bruinsma, MD, and Mark Cipriano, CPA, veterans of the pharmaceutical and finance fields, respectively, have elected to use Chorus for clinical development of the compound. Chorus is the early phase virtual drug development arm of Eli Lilly and Company’s Global External R&D organization. The investment into FAAH Pharma Inc. marks the fifth investment for the TVM Life Science Ventures VII fund.
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About FAAH Pharma Inc.
FAAH Pharma Inc. is a project-focused company developing a clinical asset initially for postherpetic neuralgia. The compound is an inhibitor of fatty acid amide hydrolase or “FAAH.” The asset has been tested in the clinic in healthy volunteers and will be studied in a Phase 2a trial. The company is fully funded to this stage by TVM Life Science Ventures VII and is supported by Dr. Gosse Bruinsma, MD, with over 20 years of leadership experience in biopharmaceutical companies and Mark Cipriano, CPA, with 16 years of venture investment experience following a ten year professional accounting career.
Dr. Gosse Bruinsma, FAAH Pharma Inc.: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Cipriano, FAAH Pharma Inc.: email@example.com
About TVM Capital Life Science
TVM Capital Life Science is providing venture capital to the international pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and medical technology industries with more than 25-years of transatlantic investment track record and in excess of US$1.1bn under management. The life science team boasts more than 120 investments and almost 90 exits in the last 25 years, including more than 40 initial public offerings on all major U.S. and European stock exchanges, and combines long-standing international investment and company building experience with their track record of dedicated board work, extensive global networks in the world of life science research and product development and a direct knowledge of the local markets. TVM Capital Life Science currently invests from its 7th fund generation, TVM Life Science Ventures VII, with an integrated team of investment professionals. Fund generations III to VI are managed by Managing Partners, Dr. Helmut M. Schühsler and Dr. Hubert Birner out of the Munich office. The new fund TVM LSV VII is advised by Dr. Hubert Birner and Dr. Luc Marengere out of Montreal. www.tvm-capital.com or www.tvm-lifescience.com
About TVM Capital
TVM Capital is a group of globally acting venture capital and private equity firms with an operating track record of 30 years. Investment teams have financed more than 250 emerging companies across several industries since 1984. During the last 15 years the firm has become increasingly specialized in the most attractive and high-growth verticals in the broader healthcare markets, with focus areas in financing innovative products and technologies in the European and U.S. biopharmaceutical and medical device markets, as well as healthcare services in the Middle East and India. TVM Capital funds operate globally with dedicated Life Science venture capital funds advised by group members TVM Life Science Management in Montréal and TVM Capital in Munich, and its healthcare private equity fund managed by TVM Capital Healthcare Partners out of Dubai.
This press release contains forward-looking statements about TVM Life Science Ventures VII and Lilly’s investment in a clinical stage compound for the indication of postherpetic neuralgia developed by FAAH Pharma, Inc. It reflects Lilly’s and TVM’s current beliefs; however, as with any such undertaking, there are substantial risks and uncertainties in the process of drug development. There is no guarantee Lilly will realize the expected benefits of the transaction, that the product will receive regulatory approval, or if approved, would be commercially successful. For further discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties, please see Lilly’s latest Forms 10-Q and 10-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The companies undertake no duty to update forward-looking statements.