MONTREAL, QC --(Marketwired - January 09, 2014) - Clementia Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately held clinical stage biotechnology company dedicated to the development and delivery of treatments for people living with rare diseases, announced today the closing of a $22.5 million Series A financing led by OrbiMed Advisors with participation by existing investor BDC Venture Capital. The Company also announced that it had previously entered into an exclusive licensing agreement to acquire the global rights to palovarotene, a retinoic acid receptor gamma agonist (RARγ), from Roche Pharmaceuticals that it will develop for the treatment of Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP), a rare and severely disabling disease characterized by spontaneous and recurrent episodes of heterotopic bone formation.
Under the terms of the agreement with Roche, all regulatory, clinical and CMC materials have been transferred to Clementia who is solely responsible for the development of palovarotene in any indication. Clementia paid Roche an up-front fee and is responsible for additional payments upon achieving certain clinical and regulatory milestones, as well as royalties on product sales. Roche originally developed palovarotene through Phase 2 clinical trials in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) but discontinued its development. More recently, palovarotene has been shown to block ossification in an injury-induced model of heterotopic ossification (HO).
"With the Series A round now complete, we are focused on rapidly advancing palovarotene back into the clinic and conducting a proof of concept human clinical trial in patients with FOP, a debilitating disease where no treatment currently exists," said Clarissa Desjardins, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Clementia. "We have been working closely with the leading experts in the FOP community, as well as with the International Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva Association to develop a robust investigational plan."
Clementia was founded by Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, Canada Research Chair in translational and personalized medicine, endowed research chair in atherosclerosis and professor of medicine at Universite de Montreal and Dr. Clarissa Desjardins, with the goal of identifying and in-licensing clinically validated molecules from pharmaceutical companies and advancing them in human clinical studies.
Clementia was originally funded by the BDC Venture Capital Healthcare Fund, to provide the financial resources to enable the completion of licensing negotiations, market validation studies and preparation for the Series A round. Proceeds from this Series A round will be used for general operational purposes and to test Clementia's lead product candidate, palovarotene in clinical studies for the treatment of FOP.
"We are very pleased to be a part of Clementia as its founding investors and now to support the Company as it evolves into a clinical stage development company. The Clementia opportunity possesses all the key elements integral to our investment approach: a proven scientific rationale, strong management and a solid market opportunity," commented Jean-Francois Pariseau, Partner, BDC Venture Capital Healthcare Fund and Clementia Board member.
David Bonita, M.D., Private Equity Partner at OrbiMed and Chairman of Clementia added, "We have recognized the need for investment and opportunity in the ultra-orphan space where we are a long established capital provider. Clementia is driving hard to bring a differentiated and potentially disease modifying therapy to patients with a severely debilitating and potentially fatal disease. We look forward to working with the Clementia team to help realize the goal of bringing palovarotene to market to help patients who are desperately in need of therapy."
About Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP)
FOP is a rare, severely disabling disease characterized by painful, recurrent episodes of soft tissue swelling (flare-ups) and abnormal bone formation in muscles, tendons and ligaments which progressively restrict movement. Flare-ups usually occur spontaneously but can also occur after soft tissue trauma, vaccinations and influenza infections. Lesions begin in early childhood and there is no treatment. FOP is caused by a point mutation in the ALK2/BMP Type I receptor rendering it overactive. Virtually all known patients with FOP have the same point mutation and all have congenital malformations of the great toes at birth.
FOP has a published prevalence of approximately 0.7 per 1,000,000. There are 500 members of the International Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva Association, a well-organized patient advocacy group.
OrbiMed is a leading investment firm dedicated exclusively to the healthcare sector, with over $8 billion in assets under management. OrbiMed invests globally across the spectrum of healthcare companies, from venture capital start-ups to large multinational companies. OrbiMed's team of more than 80 employees manages a series of private equity funds, public equity funds, royalty/debt funds and other investment vehicles. OrbiMed maintains its headquarters in New York City, with additional offices in San Francisco, Shanghai, Mumbai and Herzliya. As one of the largest investment firms dedicated to the healthcare sector, OrbiMed seeks to be a capital provider of choice, bringing the global resources required to be an exceptional long-term partner for building world-class healthcare companies. Find out more at www.OrbiMed.com.
About BDC Venture
With more than $1 billion under management and more than 25 years of industry experience, BDC Venture Capital is an investor of choice focusing on IT, health and energy/cleantech companies, as well as venture funds, with high growth potential. From seed through expansion to exit, their mandate is to help build outstanding Canadian companies, while working to create a sound financial ecosystem for Canadian technology ventures. Find out more at www.bdc.ca/vc or on Twitter @BDC_VC.
About Clementia Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Clementia is a privately held clinical stage biotechnology company dedicated to the development and commercialization of treatments for people living with rare diseases by exploiting the use of novel Retinoic Acid Receptor gamma agonists (RARγ) to address diseases of heterotopic ossification, including Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva. For more information, please visit www.clementiapharma.com.