Just over two years after its formation, Vancouver, British Columbia-based Nervgen Pharma Corp., a regenerative medicine company, has joined the public ranks with a Tier 2 company listing on the TSX Venture Exchange (TSX-V). Its IPO brought in CA$10 million (US$7.5 million) from the sale of 10 million shares priced at CA$1 each. The funds will help support the clinical development of its lead compound, NVG-291,indicated for the treatment of spinal cord injuries.
Last year, the company entered a licensing agreement with Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) of Cleveland, gaining an exclusive, worldwide right to use technology relating to leukocyte-common antigen related (LAR) family function blocking peptides developed in the laboratory of Jerry Silver, a leading spinal cord injury and regenerative medicine researcher at CWRU. His research has implicated protein tyrosine phosphatase sigma (PTP-sigma) as a key neural receptor, which inhibits nerve regeneration. He has demonstrated that the glial scar also impedes nerve regeneration as the chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan protein within the glial scar binds with the result that the process keeps the damaged nerves from regenerating.
In early experiments, Silver and his team demonstrated that treatment targeting PTP-sigma receptors with intracellular sigma peptide (ISP) promoted regeneration of damaged nerves and an associated improvement in their function in studies with animal models for several diseases and medical conditions.
Following an IND application with the FDA that is expected to be submitted toward the end of this year, Nervgen plans to start a clinical trial for the NVG-291, a close analogue of ISP that the company explains is structurally similar but different in composition, by the beginning of 2020.
The company said in its filing documents that it also intends to advance the underlying patented protein tyrosine phosphatase sigma inhibitor technology for additional indications of nerve damage.
In its financial statements for the period ended Sept. 30, the company reported that it had completed three nonbrokered private placements of common shares, raising a total of $3.59 million. It closed the reporting period with approximately $3.1 million in cash on hand.
Nervgen's common shares are expected to start trading Friday on the TSX-V under the symbol NGEN.