Ahammune Biosciences Raises Pre-Series A Funding From Ideaspring Capital And Indian Angel Network
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Pune-based biotech startup company Ahammune Biosciences on Monday said to have raised an undisclosed amount in a Pre-Series A round led by Ideaspring Capital and Indian Angel Network. Kotak Private Equity, Legacy Assets LLP (Baldota family fund), and Dr. Ajith Kamath (ex-Pfizer) have also participated in the round along with existing investors, including Dr. Anand Deshpande and Suman Kant Munjal. The Company also has Dr. Ganesh Natarajan as an existing investor and has been in receipt of a funding grant from the Government of India’s body, BIRAC.
The freshly infused capital will be used for first-in-human studies with Ahammune’s new drug candidate AB1001 for Vitiligo.
“Currently, there is no cure for Vitiligo. Our drug aims to fulfill the unmet need in Vitiligo therapeutic. We have positioned it as a topical solution, a segment of the market that accounted for 54 per cent of the total market share of available options. Our preclinical data suggest our drug candidate is very safe and is able to stop the spread of depigmentation and repigment of white patches in animal models. Based on these studies, the first intended use of the drug will be in patients with non-segmental Vitiligo, who have active Vitiligo. This disruptive scientific domain area of Ahammune thus has the potential and huge upside to provide a range of treatments for other immune-mediated diseases of the skin,” said Dr. Parul Ganju, co-founder and chief executive officer, Ahammune Biosciences.
The study will comprise Phase-I safety studies in healthy human volunteers and Phase-II efficacy studies in Vitiligo patients. The biotech company will also deploy the funds in building the patent portfolio to further the research and development efforts.
Vitiligo, a debilitating skin depigmentation disorder, has a global prevalence of about 1-2 percent. The burden of the disease is huge in India with certain regions having an incidence rate of about 8 per cent. Ahammune, founded in May 2016, has filed its first Investigational New Drug (IND) Application with the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for approval to conduct human studies with its lead drug candidate for Vitiligo.
“Effective Vitiligo treatment is currently an absolute unmet need and an unattended market. Millions of people are suffering because of this disease and the lack of available options. There is clearly a tremendous need for a new drug with an upside of huge market potential. In addition to Vitiligo, Ahammune team has the capability to discover drugs for other autoimmune skin disorders like Atopic Dermatitis, Psoriasis, Scleroderma that have an even bigger market. We are very excited to be the first Institutional investor in Ahammune and back stellar founders Dr. Parul and Dr. K. Natarajan, professor, School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University,” shared Naganand Doraswamy, managing director, Ideaspring Capital.
Apart from the treatment for vitiligo, the company is aiming to target multiple dermatological indications with its deep pipeline of IP-based molecules that modulate cellular pathways underlying skin health and immunity.
“Vitiligo is currently an unsolved problem and there is a real need for a new drug. This need represents a potential market size of $2.4 billion by the year 2024. Currently, first-line treatments are generic drugs like corticosteroids and immunosuppressants, manufactured by several companies throughout the world. There is really no drug focused on curing vitiligo, which is approved by US-FDA and this presents a unique opportunity for the company. The team of Ahammune, led by Dr. Parul Ganju, has demonstrated a deep understanding of developing the drug and ensuring a high level of efficacy,” added Padmaja Ruparel, co-founder, Indian Angel Network.
The company has been founded on the basis of finding cost-effective solutions for chronic skin diseases. Earlier, the company established the efficacy and safety of its drugs in preclinical animal studies and is now transitioning into a clinical phase company. The biotech firm has protected its innovations by filing for IPR, which are its strategic business assets. Since more than 900 million people are affected by skin diseases globally, the startup aims to provide patients with new and comprehensive treatment strategies.