The research Eloxx Pharmaceuticals of Israel is doing in the area of disease-modifying therapy got a boost this week in the infusion of a $5 million from two investment organizations in Vancouver.
The investment by Venture capital firm Quark Ventures and securities company GF Securities (Canada) Co. Ltd., is part of a $24 million financing Series C round led by California-based Pontifax, a leading VC in the life sciences arena and co-founder of Eloxx Pharmaceuticals.
Headquartered in Rehovot, Israel, Eloxx Pharmaceuticals is a clinical stage company developing first in class therapeutics to treat genetic diseases caused by nonsense mutations.
The pharma company’s lead compound, ELX-02 has shown pharmacological, pharmacodynamics, and physiological effects in several animal models of the genetic disease caused by nonsense mutations including cystic fibrosis, cystinosis, Duchene muscular dystrophy and Rett syndrome.
Approximately three to four per cent of newborns manifest a genetic disease or major birth defect, and about 12 per cent of all mutations reported are caused by nonsense mutation.
Nonsense mutations introduce premature stop codons in the reading frame of a gene. When the mutated sequence is translated into a problem, the resulting protein is incomplete and shorter than normal. Consequently, most nonsense mutations result in nonfunctional proteins.
Nonsense mutations account for some of the most severe phenotypes in genetic diseases and often have devastating effects in critical target organs.
“This investment expands our global portfolio. We are pleased to join Pontifax and other investors in this round of financing,” said Karimah Es Sabar, chief executive office of Quark Venture and director of GHS Fund. “Eloxx’s lead compound, ELX-02, provides a unique opportunity to potentially be the first disease-modifying therapy to treat a set of devastating diseases, for which there are no effective treatments. “
Quark Venture is focused on equity financing of innovative biotechnology and health sciences companies with breakthrough technology platforms and projects.
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.
Global Health Science Fund was jointly established by Quark Venture Inc. and GF Securities in late 2016. The fund is a health sciences venture fund that invests globally in a diversified portfolio of innovative biotechnology and health sciences companies.
“We welcome Quark Venture as an investor in this round of financing,” said Dr. Silvia Noiman, chief executive officer of Eloxx. “This financing enables us to initiate multiple clinical studies for EL-02. We are optimistic about advancing our lead clinical programs in cystic fibrosis and cystinosis patients carrying nonsense mutations.”
ELX-02 is a translation read-through inducing drug. Read-through therapy is a treatment strategy for genetic diseases caused by nonsense mutations to increase translation and restoring the activity of the mutated proteins.