PhaseBio, a biotechnology company spun out of Duke is developing therapies for pulmonary arterial hypertension and for bleeding in patients taking antiplatelet therapy. This past October it made its initial public offering. The Malvern, Pennsylvania-based company began trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol PHAS and priced its IPO of 9.2 million shares at $5 per share, for a total of about $46 million.
PhaseBio is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company founded by Duke inventors Drs. Chilkoti and Setton. Committed to developing new and improved biotherapeutics for the treatment of serious rare diseases, their proprietary technology platform uses recombinant elastin-like polypeptide (ELP) biopolymers to control the half-life, bioavailability and physical characteristics of molecules for ease of administration.
In Sept. 5, the company announced the closure of a Series D financing round worth $34 million, with participation from new investors Cormorant Asset Management, Rock Springs Capital and Mountain Group Partners. Existing investors include New Enterprise Associates, Hatteras Venture Partners, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Syno Capital and Fletcher Spaght Ventures.
Three days after the S-1 filing, the company announced positive results from the Phase I study of PB2452, a reversal agent for the antiplatelet drug ticagrelor, a drug used in patients with acute coronary syndrome to reduce the rate of cardiovascular death, heart attack and stroke. The trial was a safety study in healthy volunteers and showed PB2452 achieved rapid, complete and sustained reversal of ticagrelor’s activity, with potential for customizable duration of reversal based on dosing regimen.
PhaseBio in-licensed the drug from AstraZeneca last year, announcing a global license agreement with MedImmune, the latter company’s biologics research and development arm, where the drug had been developed under the name MEDI2452. The drug is a fragment antigen-binding antibody fragment that the company said is designed to rapidly reverse ticagrelor’s antiplatelet effects in emergency situations. While approved for reducing the rate of cardiovascular events, ticagrelor’s label also carries a boxed warning stating that, like other antiplatelet agents, it can cause significant and sometimes fatal bleeding.
PhaseBio’s lead product candidate is PB1046, in Phase IIb testing for PAH, with data expected in the first half of 2020.