SuppreMol GmbH, a specialist in autoimmune diseases, has closed a third private funding round and announced that it has been awarded research funding of €1.6 million by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
The grant will support a clinical study of SuppreMol’s lead product SM101 in treating Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), in particular Lupus Nephritis, a subcategory of this autoimmune disease primarily affecting the kidneys, and another project to evaluate SM101 in animal models of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
The grant is part of the biotechnology initiative, ‘m4 - Personalised Medicine and Targeted Therapies - New Dimension in Drug Development in the Munich Region,’ which received high-tech cluster status in a German government funding competition this year. In total, the initiative involves more than 100 partners from industry, research institutes and clinics. The aim is to enhance efficiency in the drug development process and the effectiveness of drugs, through the implementation of personalised and targeted medicine along the entire value chain.
At present, SM101 is being developed in Primary Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP), for which SuppreMol has been granted orphan drug designation in the EU and in the US. A Phase I trial in healthy volunteers, completed in 2009, demonstrated an excellent safety and tolerability profile and favourable pharmacokinetics. A multi-centre Phase Ib/IIa clinical trial in the treatment of ITP started earlier this year, with interim results expected next year.
“We are very pleased about the funding,” said Peter Buckel, CEO of SuppreMol. “We already know from preclinical experiments and biological assays that SM101 has great potential in the treatment of SLE and other autoimmune diseases. The grant now allows us to advance the development of SM101 into further indications. We will collaborate with the m4 cluster’s clinical study centres and the University of Erlangen.”
SuppreMol was founded in 2002 as a spin-out from the laboratory of Robert Huber, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1988, at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany. The €15.5 million third round brings the total raised by the company to €35.2 million.