LifeArc, a UK-based medical research charity, announced today it is investing £1.5million into Caldan Therapeutics Limited, a company developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of metabolic diseases based on original work. Focussing on activators of free fatty acid receptors (GPR120) implicated in the development of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the investment is part of a £2million fund raise to support the optimisation of a lead candidate to progress to later pre-clinical development. LifeArc is joined in this investment by founding investor Epidarex Capital.
Dr David Holbrook, LifeArc’s Head of Seed Fund, said: “As specialists in translating early-stage research in drug discovery and diagnostics into patient benefit, LifeArc, through its Seed Fund, is delighted to be investing in Caldan to progress potentially groundbreaking new treatments in the NASH space for which there is significant patient need. As NASH progresses it can result in excessive scarring in the liver (fibrosis), a natural response to injury, which can lead to liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.”
NASH, a progressive form of non-alcohol related fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is now considered to be one of the major causes of cirrhosis of the liver; its prevalence among UK adults is estimated as high as 1 in 8 people. This could present a huge burden on the NHS in the future, with an increasing number of people requiring care for cirrhosis or needing a liver transplant.[i]
Mark Payton, CEO of Caldan Therapeutics Limited, commented: “We are delighted to welcome LifeArc as a new investor in Caldan. This will allow us to translate the work on free fatty acid receptors initiated in the laboratories of the Company’s founders Prof Graeme Milligan of Glasgow University and Prof Trond Ulven, of University of Southern Denmark rapidly towards the clinic. We believe GPR120 agonism holds immense promise for the treatment of NASH due to its potential to impact multiple stages in the development of this important disease.”
Elizabeth Roper, Partner, Epidarex Capital, concluded: “Attracting LifeArc as new investors into Caldan is a reflection of the great progress that Caldan has made and the company’s potential to become the leading company developing GPR120 inhibitors for metabolic disease.”
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