LA JOLLA, Calif., March 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CalciMedica Inc. (“CalciMedica” or the “Company”), a clinical-stage biotechnology company targeting calcium release-activated calcium (CRAC) channels for the treatment of severe acute and chronic inflammatory diseases, today announced it has secured a $21 million Series D financing led by Quark Venture LP and GHS Fund (Quark Venture LP and GF Securities) and joined by previous investors, Valence Life Sciences and Sanderling Ventures. In conjunction with the financing, Zafi Avnur, Ph.D., chief scientific officer and partner at Quark Venture, will join the company’s board of directors. Proceeds from the financing will support the clinical development of CalciMedica’s portfolio of CRAC channel inhibitors including AuxoraTM which is being evaluated in an ongoing blinded placebo-controlled clinical trial in severe and critical COVID-19 pneumonia, with over 200 patients randomized to date, and in a Phase 2b trial in acute pancreatitis that will start enrolling patients in the coming weeks. The private financing will be completed in multiple closings.
“We thank GHS Fund and Quark Venture for its financial support and welcome Dr. Avnur to the board of directors,” said Rachel Leheny, Ph.D., chief executive officer of CalciMedica. “Her extensive and diverse experience in life sciences that spans three decades working with advanced clinical compounds will be critical as we continue to asses and advance our pipeline which includes Auxora in severe and critical COVID-19 pneumonia, acute pancreatitis, and other inflammatory indications.”
Karimah Es Sabar, CEO and partner, Quark Venture added, “We are pleased to invest in CalciMedica and provide support for the further development of the company’s promising CRAC channel inhibitors platform. We believe in Auxora’s potential to be a critical component of treatment for COVID-19 and other acute inflammatory indications. Our investment in CalciMedica reflects our strong commitment to enabling innovative companies developing life-saving therapies.”
Prior to joining Quark Venture, Dr. Avnur was the Global Head of Academic Innovation, Roche Partnering 2009 – 2016. She was responsible for creating relationships with the world’s leading academic institutions and world class innovators, gaining Roche early access to innovation. Dr. Avnur was named Distinguished Scientist, the highest scientific appointment at Roche. Prior to her partnering roles, she worked in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics research and development for nearly 20 years and she participated in global committees at Roche that managed the research drug discovery portfolios for both Inflammatory and Viral Diseases. Dr. Avnur has created eleven startup companies.
Auxora is currently under evaluation in a blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial enrolling up to 400 patients with severe and critical COVID-19 pneumonia. To date over 200 patients have been randomized. Patients are receiving either Auxora or matched lipid nano-emulsion placebo in addition to standard of care, which includes dexamethasone and may include remdesivir. For more information about the clinical trial, visit clinicaltrials.gov.
About CalciMedica, Inc.
CalciMedica is a privately-held, clinical-stage biotechnology company with a platform focused on CRAC channel drug discovery and development for the treatment of severe acute and chronic inflammatory diseases, including acute pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis, COVID-19 pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The company has a portfolio of potent and selective small molecule CRAC channel inhibitors, including its lead product Auxora, that prevent CRAC channel overactivation that can cause organ injury in numerous settings, including endothelial apoptosis, pancreatic necrosis, tissue fibrosis and diffuse alveolar damage. Data from both a Phase 2a acute pancreatitis trial and a Phase 2 COVID-19 pneumonia trial suggest that Auxora prevents organ tissue damage and allows for rapid restoration of organ function. CalciMedica is headquartered in San Diego, CA. For more information, please visit the company website at www.calcimedica.com.
Rachel Leheny, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer