Heart Metabolics Limited, the UK-based developer of a drug to treat heart failure for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy patients, closed a $4 million Series A round from investors including the Trans Tasman Commercialisation Fund in Melbourne, Australia and AshHill Investments, based in the U.S. Heart Metabolics also announced changes to its board as part of the financing.
LONDON, Jan. 3, 2013 — Heart Metabolics Limited announced today that it has closed the first tranche of its Series A financing with secured commitments of US$4 million. The proceeds of the Series A round will be used to advance U.S. clinical development of the company’s lead drug candidate, perhexiline, for the treatment of heart failure symptoms in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (“HCM”).
Investors in the Series A financing include the Trans Tasman Commercialisation Fund (“TTCF”) of Melbourne, Australia and AshHill Investments, LLC of Fort Thomas, Kentucky, United States. Coincident with the financing, Steven R. Smith of AshHill, Andrew O’Brien, Ph.D., and Michael Bettess, Ph.D. of TTCF have joined the Board of Directors of Heart Metabolics along withPeter G. Milner, M.D, who also was also appointed CEO of Heart Metabolics. Dr. Milner is based in the United States. Continuing members of the company’s Board of Directors are Mungo Park, Chairman of Heart Metabolics and Executive Chairman of Innovator Capital Limited, and Walter Flamenbaum, M.D., Partner Emeritus at Paul Capital (U.S.).
Among the other persons joining the U.S.-based management team for Heart Metabolics are Philip N. Sussman, Managing Partner at The Channel Group, LLC, who was appointed Chief Financial Officer, and Mary K. Pendergast, former Deputy Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”).
HCM is an inherited defect of heart muscle that occurs due to large deletions in genes that encode key contractile proteins in the heart. These genetic deletions lead to disordered cardiac energy metabolism, enlargement of the heart muscle, obstruction of outflow of blood from the heart, and eventual heart failure. The heart failure due to HCM is difficult to treat and can be fatal. The company’s founders, Professor Michael Frenneaux and Dr. Houman Ashrafian, working at major university medical centers in the U.K. discovered that the abnormal cardiac energetics and the heart failure symptoms of HCM could be reversed effectively by treatment with a known drug, perhexiline. In June 2012 the company obtained orphan designation from the FDA for the use of perhexiline as first line treatment for moderate-to-severe heart failure due to HCM. The company has also in-licensed a new chemical entity drug candidate from The University of Adelaide (Australia) for the treatment of heart failure.
“We are glad to have the support of a strong group of biomedical investors in helping us develop this important new treatment for what is otherwise a serious, debilitating, and potentially fatal genetic defect of the heart,” commented Dr. Milner. “There are over 120,000 people in the U.S. with HCM who suffer from moderate-to-severe heart failure symptoms. It is these patients who could benefit from this treatment that we are trying to help.”