VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA and MIAMI, FLORIDA--(Marketwired - Jan. 27, 2017) - Today, Quark Venture Inc., and GF Securities announced a US$1.6 million investment in Biscayne Neurotherapeutics (Biscayne), through the Global Health Sciences Fund. Biscayne's lead compound BIS-001, is in clinical development as a novel anti-epileptic agent. Quark Venture and GF Securities were joined by Mesa Verde Venture Partners of San Diego and current Biscayne shareholders for a total Series B raise of over US$3 million.
The Series B investment will enable Biscayne to initiate and complete a Phase 1b proof of concept trial of its new extended release formulation of BIS-001 in 2017. BIS-001 is a novel synthetic form of huperzine A, a traditional Chinese medicine that has been used as a treatment for cognitive disorders for centuries. Biscayne is initially developing BIS-001 to treat refractory forms of focal epilepsy, including refractory partial complex seizures and children with Dravet syndrome.
Epilepsy afflicts 1 percent of the population and refractory complex partial seizures are the most common type of seizures in older children and adults. Mortality for people with refractory seizures is high, and the impact of continuing seizures can be horrific for people with epilepsy and their families.
Dravet syndrome is a rare, catastrophic, lifelong form of epilepsy that begins in the first year of life with frequent and/or prolonged seizures. The estimated incidence rate in the US is approximately 1:16,000 to 1:21,000. Over 80 percent of people with this syndrome have a gene mutation that causes problems in the way that a specific ion channel in the brain works. Patients with Dravet syndrome face high disability and a 15-20 percent mortality rate.
"The goal of the Global Health Sciences Fund is to invest in the best science the world has to offer, so we are pleased to partner with Biscayne whose innovative science was developed by researchers at Harvard and Yale," said Karimah Es Sabar, Director GHSF & Chief Executive Officer, Quark Venture. "We are impressed with the leadership, and their unique approach to finding a solution for this devastating disease for which there are currently no therapies available."
Huperzine A, which is a potent acetylcholinesterase inhibitor with high brain penetration, offers a unique mechanism of action for the treatment of epilepsy. BIS-001 has shown promising efficacy in highly predictive preclinical models of refractory complex partial epilepsy, providing 100 percent elimination of seizures in the majority of the animals. In a Phase 1 trial in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy, BIS-001 appeared safe, and serum levels were obtained that support its development as an effective anticonvulsant. Biscayne has developed an extended release formulation to ensure convenient and compliant patient dosing.
"We welcome the involvement and investment from Quark Venture and GF Securities and the Global Health Sciences Fund, along with our other new and existing investors. This investment enables us to move forward with this highly promising therapy for the many people with severe epilepsy, a disabling condition that lacks safe and effective treatment options. We believe BIS-001 may offer a wholly new approach to seizure control and it may also provide cognition-maintenance or enhancement benefits to patients, a much-needed attribute in anti-convulsant therapy, which can actually worsen the cognition deficits often associated with the condition," said Stephen Collins, MD, PhD, President and CEO of Biscayne Neurotherapeutics.
"This investment by Quark, GF Securities and Mesa Verde speaks to the global needs for new therapies for refractory central nervous system diseases. We greatly appreciate the benefits of partnering with such an excellent group of investors, along with the depth of resources now available to our company," said Samuel Reich, Executive Chairman of Biscayne Neurotherapeutics.
About Quark Venture
Quark Venture is focused on equity financing of innovative biotechnology and health sciences companies with breakthrough technology platforms and projects. The organization's approach is to establish long-term relationships with target companies, with a view to enable and strengthen management to realize the full potential and value of the technology. This approach has been previously successfully demonstrated in the energy and high tech sectors where Quark Venture partners have invested. Quark Venture's management is supported by a scientific and commercial advisory board. For more information on Quark Venture visit www.quarkventure.com.
About GF Securities
Incorporated in September of 1991, GF Securities is a provider of comprehensive capital market services with industry-leading innovation capabilities focused on serving China's quality SMEs and affluent individuals. GF Securities is listed both on the Hong Kong (01776.HK) and Shenzhen (000776.SZ) stock exchanges with total market capitalization of approximately US$20 billion. GF Securities is an industry leader across the entire spectrum of its core business services: investment banking, wealth management, trading and institutional client services, and investment management. For more information, visit www.gf.com.cn.
About Global Health Science Fund
Global Health Science Fund was jointly established by Quark Venture Inc. and GF Securities in late 2016. Global Health Science Fund is a health sciences venture fund that invests globally in a diversified portfolio of innovative biotechnology and health sciences companies who are addressing unmet medical needs through innovations in drug development, medical devices, health IT and emerging convergent technologies.
About Biscayne Neurotherapeutics
Biscayne Neurotherapeutics is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel drugs for serious central nervous system disorders such as refractory epilepsy. Biscayne's lead compound BIS-001 has shown striking efficacy in highly predictive models of difficult-to-treat epileptic conditions such as complex partial seizures and Dravet syndrome. Biscayne's technology is licensed from Harvard University, Yale University and the University of South Florida. Biscayne is headquartered in Miami, FL. For more information, visit the company's website, biscayneneurotherapeutics.com, which is currently under construction but should be operative shortly.