Apnimed does not rely on its laurels. A year after its Tier B funding, the drug has closed a $62.5 million Phase C drug round to advance its sleep apnea (OSA) drug into Phase 3 trials.
The money is a significant improvement over the $25 million raised in Apnimed’s previous funding round a year ago. Following positive program results in October 2021 for its OSA drug AD109, investors are cashing in as the company strives to advance the therapy into late-stage development.
The third round of funding was led by the new asset management investor, which manages global healthcare portfolios including Amolyt Pharma, Turnstone Biologics, and Garuda Therapeutics. Other new Apnimed backers include Alpha Wave Ventures and NexPoint, which joins existing investors Morningside Ventures, Seligman Investments, and Tao Capital Partners.
Apnimed has promised there is a market for a new drug treatment option for OSA, which affects 25 million people in the United States. In these patients, the muscles that keep the upper airway open collapse repeatedly during sleep, occasionally leading to low oxygen levels and long-term morbidity.
Constant positive air pressure can be effective, but many patients do not adhere to treatment, requiring you to wear a mask while sleeping. Neurostimulation implants are also effective, but some patients are not suitable for the devices and others are reluctant to undergo the necessary surgery.
AD109 combines a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor called atomoxetine with the antimuscarinic drug oxybutynin to activate the constricting upper airway muscles and keep the airway open during sleep. The drug is currently being evaluated in a phase 2 trial called Mariposa, one of the largest clinical trials of any drug candidate aimed at addressing the root cause of OSA. Once the study is complete, Apnimed plans to meet with the FDA on a Phase 3 development program.
In addition to supporting clinical development, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company will use the $62.5 million to expand its staff to further support the program and advance business plans.
As part of the financing, Stefan Larson, Ph.D., Partner at Sector Asset Management, and Chris Dimitropoulos, Chief Biotech Officer at Alpha Wave Ventures, will join Apnimed’s Board of Directors. Isaac Cheng, MD, of Morningside Capital, also joined the board.
“We believe that a pharmaceutical therapeutic approach to treating OSA represents a significant and positive change for the area and people living with this devastating disease,” Dimitropoulos said in a May 4 news release. “We look forward to seeing more details on Apnimed’s phase 2 study of Mariposa later this year, which will inform the final design of the proposed phase 3 study and will support Apnimed’s continued progress towards ‘approval’.