SAN DIEGO, CA, Biotechnology company focused on developing small molecule therapeutics to treat hemoglobin disorders, announced that it has closed a $13 million extension of their Series B financing.
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HemaQuest Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (HemaQuest), a biotechnology company focused on developing small molecule therapeutics to treat hemoglobin disorders, announced today that it has closed a $13 million extension of their Series B financing. The Series B Extension is being funded by its existing investors: Aberdare Ventures, De Novo Ventures, Forward Ventures, Latterell Venture Partners and Lilly Ventures. Proceeds from the financing will be used to fund a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2b clinical study evaluating lead product candidate HQK-1001 in patients with sickle cell disease.
The Company believes this financing, combined with existing cash balances, will be sufficient to allow completion of the Phase 2b trial and to fund operations through early 2014.
"We are extremely pleased to have the continuing support of our existing investors," said HemaQuest Chief Executive Officer John P. Longenecker, Ph.D. "This additional financing enables us to continue our HQK-1001 clinical development program for sickle cell, moving another step closer to a new therapy for this devastating disease affecting underserved populations around the world."
HQK-1001 belongs to a class of compounds originally discovered at Boston University School of Medicine. These compounds, designated as Short Chain Fatty Acid Derivatives (SCFADs), have been shown to stimulate fetal hemoglobin expression and red blood cell production in the laboratory. HQK-1001 is an orally administered SCFAD which has been assessed in a number of clinical trials in sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia. These trials have established a safe and well tolerated dose which results in the induction of fetal hemoglobin. Induction of fetal hemoglobin production in red blood cells has been shown to reduce the frequency of pain crises and hospitalizations of patients with sickle cell disease. The compound has received Orphan Drug Designation in the United States and Europe for both sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia.
ABOUT SICKLE CELL DISEASE
Sickle cell disease is a genetic blood disorder that affects approximately 140,000 patients in the U.S. and Europe and 250,000 in the Middle East. Sickle cell disease is characterized by production of an abnormal beta hemoglobin chain of adult hemoglobin, which results in distorted, rigid sickle red blood cells, which block blood vessels, causing lack of oxygen to tissues, acute episodes of pain (pain crises), lung injury (acute chest syndrome), and strokes. Infections are common, and chronic damage occurs in many organs, including the spleen, bones, kidneys, lungs, brain, and eyes. The sole drug which is approved to reduce the frequency of pain crises is a cancer chemotherapy drug, hydroxyurea. The lifespan of sickle cell patients is markedly reduced.
ABOUT HEMAQUEST PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.
HemaQuest Pharmaceuticals (www.HemaQuest.com), established in late 2007, is a San Diego and Seattle-based biopharmaceutical company focused on developing small molecule therapeutics based on its proprietary SCFAD technologies to treat hemoglobin diseases. The Company's investors include Aberdare Ventures, De Novo Ventures, Forward Ventures, Latterell Venture Partners and Lilly Ventures.