Ankasa Regenerative Therapeutics Receives $8.5 Million in First Tranche of $17 Million Series A Financing Led by Avalon Ventures
Financing Will Fund Development of Proprietary Stem Cell Growth Factor Therapy for Potential Use in Spinal Fusion and Other Applications
LA JOLLA, Calif -- Ankasa Regenerative Therapeutics, Inc. (Ankasa), a company focused on pharmaceutical preparations for reactivation of stem cells for organ and tissue regrowth, tissue repair and healing, has received $8.5 million in the first tranche of a $17 million Series A round of financing led by La Jolla-based Avalon Ventures. Other participants in the financing include Heraeus Medical, a global business unit from the technology company Heraeus of Hanau, Germany, which took a significant position, and Correlation Ventures of San Diego.
Ankasa is focusing on the development of the stem cell growth factor WNT3A, which is found in humans and functions in the maintenance of bone growth and repair, but the level of which declines with age. Ankasa intends to initially develop a proprietary localized therapy involving WNT3A for spinal fusion surgery patients. The company anticipates being in the clinic within 30 months to begin a trial in spinal fusion, and envisions its product becoming the therapy of choice for this indication in a current market estimated at more than $1 billion in annual sales. The company also intends to investigate the use of WNT3A in additional bone and other tissue repair applications.
Ankasa has obtained multiple proofs of efficacy for WNT3A in various models of bone repair in animals. If approved for commercial use, it could serve as an alternative to the protein BMP-2, a protein that is used commercially to induce bone and cartilage formation, but which has shown to have serious and limiting complications.
Sanford J. Madigan, Ph.D., CEO of Ankasa, said, “We are extremely grateful for the confidence shown in us by Avalon Ventures and its financing partners Heraeus and Correlation that culminated in this financing. We believe that our WNT3A therapy holds the promise of significantly enhancing the success rate of many bone repair and fusion surgeries. As the general population ages and the number of these surgeries rises, we feel our therapeutic approach can play a positive role for patient outcomes. We look forward to working with our investors toward the successful clinical development or our product.”
Kevin J. Kinsella, founder of Avalon Ventures, said, “We foresee a significant opportunity for Ankasa and its proprietary technology. Under the direction of Dr. Madigan, Jill A. Helms, D.D.S., Ph.D., Professor of Surgery-Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Stanford School of Medicine, and Scientific Advisory Board chairman David Lacey, M.D., we believe Ankasa can make a positive impact on the standard of care in the spinal fusion arena as well as other areas of medicine.”
Dr. Andre Kobelt, President of Heraeus Medical GmbH, said, “Ankasa is an impressive company that has the potential to drastically improve the current approach to degenerative orthopedic indications. This is an exciting technology that for Heraeus Medical, as a pure-play orthobiologics company, will allow us to expand our regenerative market footprint.”
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