BioWorld International Correspondent
PARIS - Trophos SA raised €8.5 million (US$11.6 million) in a series C funding round, bringing to €43.5 million the total funding the Marseille, France-based company has raised since it was founded in 1999. That total includes €26.5 million of equity and €12 million of research grants from various sources.
The financing was led by a new investor, OTC Asset Management, of Paris, which was joined by another Paris-based fund, CM-CIC Capital Privé.
Trophos's five existing investors also participated in the funding round: Société Générale Asset Management (SGAM), of Paris; Viveris Management, of Marseille; Turenne Capital Partners, of Paris and Marseille; Blue Medical, of Helmond, the Netherlands; and the French Muscular Dystrophy Association (AFM - Association Française contre les Myopathies).
Paul-Henry Schmelck, a partner at OTC Asset Management, has joined the supervisory board of Trophos. He explained that "OTC decided to invest in Trophos due to its novel phenotypic approach to drug discovery, which has allowed the company to successfully identify and develop a pipeline of products with broad therapeutic potential."
Trophos will use the proceeds to complete Phase II clinical studies of its lead compound, TRO19622, which is being developed for the treatment of neuropathic pain and the motoneuron diseases ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). In addition, the company plans to speed up work establishing clinical proof of concept for a second compound, TRO40303, in the treatment of ischemia-reperfusion injury.
Trophos CEO Antoine Béret said the company was "approaching a series of key clinical milestones for its portfolio of proprietary drug candidates . . . This funding allows Trophos to advance its clinical and preclinical pipeline to clinical proof of concept in therapeutic areas with significant unmet medical need and tremendous commercial potential."
He also stressed the participation in this financing of the AFM, which thereby "reaffirmed its support for our spinal muscular atrophy clinical program . . . part of our ongoing commitment to motor neuron diseases."
In December Trophos completed a Phase Ib trial of TRO19622 in the treatment of ALS and announced plans for carrying out a pivotal Phase II/III trial of the product.
September 2006, it was granted orphan drug status in Europe for TRO19622 in the treatment of ALS, having already obtained orphan drug designation for the drug in the U.S., also in ALS.
The company is looking for a co-development/licensing partner to undertake the clinical development of TRO 19622 in the U.S.