Tobira Therapeutics Inc., a
PRINCETON, N.J. and SAN DIEGO, Aug. 1 — Tobira Therapeutics Inc., a newly established, clinical stage biotechnology company, today announced the completion of a $31 million Series A financing that was co-led by the venture capital firms Domain Associates and Frazier Healthcare Ventures. Montreux Equity Partners and Canaan Partners also participated.
The company also announced that James Sapirstein, RPh MBA, has been named CEO and President of Tobira Therapeutics, and will lead an experienced biotech development team including Gregory Fusco, MD (Chief Medical Officer) and Richard Ogden, PhD (Scientific Development Advisor).
Tobira Therapeutics will focus on the clinical development of novel therapies for HIV/AIDS. The Company has entered into an exclusive license for technology and products developed by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited of Osaka, Japan. Takeda has granted Tobira Therapeutics exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize Takeda's anti-HIV clinical stage compounds TAK-220 and TAK-652.
TAK-652, a potentially “best in class” drug and TAK-220 are CCR5 antagonists that can be administered orally and bind to CCR5 receptors to interfere with the entry of the HIV-1 virus into macrophages and activated T-cells by inhibiting fusion between viral and cellular membranes. This mechanism of action is different from those currently used for treatment of HIV infection such as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and protease inhibitors. TAK-220 and TAK-652 are currently in Phase I clinical development in the U.S. and Europe. All future development activities in these territories will be conducted by Tobira Therapeutics.
The Series A funding will enable Tobira Therapeutics to advance its lead compound, TAK-652, through Phase 2 clinical development, and it will allow development of TAK-220 as a back-up compound.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to further develop these important compounds. Tobira's focus is treatment of HIV infection and we look forward to working with clinical researchers, the HIV community and other important partners to bring these compounds to market as expeditiously as possible for the benefit of patients and their loved ones,” said James Sapirstein, CEO of Tobira.
“I have full confidence that the highly qualified management team of Tobira will advance the lead compound TAK-652 through clinical development as rapidly as possible while developing TAK-220 as a back-up compound. Drugs that target the CCR-5 receptor have the potential to dramatically augment the treatment armamentarium for HIV/AIDS and it is very important that TAK-652, as a potential “best-in-class” CCR-5 blocker, is developed as quickly as possible for the benefit of patients with HIV infection. The management team of Tobira has the track record and experience to accomplish that,” said Eckard Weber, MD, Chairman of the Board of Tobira Therapeutics, partner with Domain Associates and founder of Tobira Therapeutics.
Tobira Therapeutics is based in Princeton, New Jersey. It also maintains an office in San Diego, California.
About the Tobira Therapeutics Management Team
James Sapirstein, RPh MBA, named CEO and President of Tobira Therapeutics, was formerly Executive Vice President of Metabolic and Endocrinology at Serono Inc. Previously, James had positions of increasing responsibility at Gilead Sciences, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Hoffmann-LaRoche Ltd. and Eli Lilly and Company. Mr. Sapirstein has launched several HIV/AIDS agents worldwide during his 23 year career in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. James attained his pharmacy degree at Rutgers University, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy and his Masters of Business Administration at Farleigh Dickinson University.
Prior to joining Tobira Therapeutics as CMO, Gregory Fusco, MD MPH, was formerly Vice President of Late Stage Clinical Development at Incyte Corporation. Prior to Incyte, Gregory was instrumental in developing innovative and elegant methods in a leadership role at GlaxoSmithKline and was involved in evaluating HIV disease status and drug efficacy. Gregory attained his MD degree at Michigan State University and also has a Master's degree in Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Michigan.
Richard Ogden, PhD, Scientific Development Advisor for Tobira Therapeutics, is co-founder of RORR Enterprises, a Medical, Scientific Consulting and Education Company. Prior to working with Tobira, he held the position of Senior Director of Scientific Affairs, HIV, US Medical at Pfizer Inc. Richard was one of the original employees of Agouron Pharmaceuticals Inc., serving in several positions of increasing responsibilities and lastly was Senior Director of Scientific Development at Agouron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Richard holds a Ph.D. in organic Chemistry from Cambridge University in England.
About the CCR-5 Receptor target
CCR5 antagonists work by binding to CCR5 receptors and interfering with the entry of the HIV-1 virus into macrophages and activated T-cells. This binding inhibits fusion between viral and cellular membranes. This mechanism of action is different from those currently used for treatment of HIV infection such as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and protease inhibitors.
About Tobira Therapeutics, Inc.
Tobira Therapeutics is a private biopharmaceutical company which is focused on developing and commercializing innovative antiviral compounds to treat HIV disease. The company was founded in 2006 by Eckard Weber, MD, a partner at the venture capital firm Domain Associates, to develop novel treatments for HIV disease. Tobira has assembled a highly experienced management team with decades of clinical and commercial development experience specifically in HIV/AIDS drug development.