OKLAHOMA CITY, Sept. 18 Altheus Therapeutics, Inc. hassecured $3.6 million in venture capital financing to fund clinical trialstesting the efficacy of its therapy for the treatment of inflammatory boweldisease. St Louis-based Prolog Ventures led the round and was joined by theOklahoma Seed Capital Fund and Oklahoma Equity Partners.
About 1.2 million Americans suffer from inflammatory bowel disease. Thetwo most common forms, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's Disease, are chroniclifelong conditions which significantly impact the quality of life. Currenttherapies are reportedly effective less than 50% of the time.
The Altheus therapy combines two FDA approved drugs in a novel way and hasbeen shown to be highly effective in animal models. This therapeutic approachis based on the research of Dr. Richard Harty, Emeritus Chief ofGastroenterology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
"We are very enthusiastic about our investment in Altheus, which allowsthe company to conduct the clinical trials needed to prove its product," saidBrian Clevinger, founder and managing director at Prolog Ventures. "Theinitial data that Altheus has gathered is quite compelling. This is one ofthe most exciting companies we have seen in our pursuit of early-stage lifescience opportunities."
"This funding provides us with the capital to move our drug candidatesforward into clinical trials," said Adam Payne, CEO of Altheus. "Our initialanimal data suggest that our mechanistic approach is far superior toconventional frontline strategies -- which, if proven in the clinic, willprovide a significant step forward for treatment. Conventional therapies cantake as long as eight weeks to develop a clinical response. Our therapy maycut this time in half and help a larger portion of the population that suffersfrom this disease."
The investment in Altheus is the first for the newly formed Oklahoma SeedCapital Fund, managed by i2E. The Oklahoma Seed Capital Fund was formed afterthe Oklahoma Legislature provided funding in 2006 to the Oklahoma Center forthe Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) for the OCAST Seed Capitalprogram, for the first time since it was authorized by Oklahoma voters in1988.
Commenting on the transaction, i2E President and CEO Greg Main said, "Thisis a great example of Oklahoma's developing capacity to support strongcommercialization opportunities by combining local sources of equity withcapital from out of state. This is the first of what I think will be manymore."
OCAST Executive Director Michael Carolina said, "It has been 20 yearssince Oklahoma voters approved a state-funded seed capital program. Closing ofthe recent round of fundraising for Altheus Corporation is the first exampleof seed capital investment to come from that effort. All Oklahomans should beexcited about what such investments can mean for future generations who willenjoy improved health, wealth and the opportunity for quality jobs. This is ahigh water mark for Oklahoma's economic development. I believe this investmentcoupled with future announcements gives our state much to look forward to inthe form of emerging advanced technology enterprise."
Altheus Therapeutics, Inc., based in Oklahoma City, is a pharmaceuticaldevelopment company focused on innovative therapies for the treatment ofInflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
i2E, Inc. is a private not-for-profit corporation focused on wealthcreation by growing the technology-based entrepreneurial economy in Oklahoma.i2E is a strategic partner of and is funded by OCAST, the Oklahoma Center forthe Advancement of Science and Technology.
SOURCE Altheus Therapeutics, Inc.