Savara Also Announces $4 Million National Institutes of Health Grant
Austin, TX, March 20, 2013 – Savara Pharmaceuticals today announced that it has closed a $7.4 million second tranche of its Series B financing resulting in a total raise of $16 million. Additionally, Savara was awarded a $4 million grant by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. All private equity and non-dilutive funds will support the Phase 2 development of AeroVanc™, the first inhaled antibiotic being developed to treat the increasing number of persistent pulmonary methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF).
Savara’s new investors include members of the Tech Coast Angels and the North Texas Angel Network, along with returning investors from the Central Texas Angel Network and The Keiretsu Forum, which led the $8.6 million first tranche of the Series B in June 2012. Existing independent investors also participated in the round. The second tranche of the Series B was oversubscribed, and to accommodate the additional interest from investors, Savara extended the round from an initial $13 million to $16 million. The company has raised a total of $19 million in private equity since it was founded.
“Savara has quickly emerged as one of the key players in inhaled antibiotics, but unlike all other similar products, AeroVanc is the first one to specifically address the growing problem of MRSA lung infection in cystic fibrosis,” said Rob Neville, Chief Executive Officer of Savara Pharmaceuticals. “This has created substantial interest among an increasing number of high caliber investors, with strong support from key opinion leaders and the CF medical community.”
In Phase 1 studies of AeroVanc in healthy volunteers and CF patients, AeroVanc was well tolerated and demonstrated an excellent pharmacokinetic profile that supports once- or twice-daily administration. AeroVanc has been granted orphan drug designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Savara plans to initiate a Phase 2 trial of AeroVanc in the first half of 2013 to be carried out in 22 CF centers nationwide.
Intravenous vancomycin is the antibiotic of choice for MRSA-related bronchopneumonia, however, IV administration, poor penetration into the lungs and systemic toxicities limit its use in a chronic setting. AeroVanc is a proprietary inhaled dry powder form of vancomycin in a capsule-based device designed for convenient self-administration. By targeting vancomycin directly to the lungs, AeroVanc is expected to improve clinical efficacy and reduce side effects due to systemic drug exposure.
About Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is a life-shortening genetic disease characterized by thick, sticky mucus in the lungs and frequent lung infections, which result in loss of lung function. As the disease progresses, the lungs of CF patients are typically infected with bacteria that are difficult to eradicate. Infections such as pseudomonas are usually treated with nebulized antibiotics. In recent years, infection by MRSA has become increasingly common, with a prevalence of almost 30 percent of the estimated 30,000 CF patients in the United States. Persistent MRSA infection is associated with faster decline in lung function and a significantly shortened life expectancy. Currently there is no approved inhaled therapy for MRSA infection for CF patients.
About Savara Pharmaceuticals
Savara Pharmaceuticals is an emerging specialty pharmaceutical company developing innovative pulmonary drugs for the treatment of serious and life-threatening conditions. The company’s lead product, AeroVanc™ (vancomycin hydrochloride inhalation powder), is the first dry powder inhaled antibiotic for the treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in patients with cystic fibrosis. Savara receives funding for development of AeroVanc from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R44HL112393. The award spans three years and is subject to continued progression of the AeroVanc program. For more information, please see Savara’s website at www.savarapharma.com.
Robert Neville, CEO