Biotech startup OccuRx has raised $16 million to fund phase clinical trials for its oral therapy to treat chronic kidney disease (CKD), a leading cause of death.
The round was jointly led by Brandon BioCatalyst and Uniseed and also includes a $1.5 million grant from the biomedical incubator CUREator.
The funding will be used for a CKD clinical program for the lead compound OCX-063, following successful results in a Phase I clinical trial.
Chronic kidney disease affects millions of people worldwide, often as a result of other long-term illnesses, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease, leading to fibrosis and kidney failure. There are no current treatments for renal fibrosis.
OccuRx executive chair Professor Darren Kelly said it is an exciting time for the startup’s clinical development program for patients with CKD.
“Our goal is to develop an oral therapy for the treatment and prevention of fibrosis that often leads to disease progression and organ failure,” he said.
“We continue to expand and strengthen our team at OccuRx as we progress through our CKD trial and beyond.”
To do that, the biotech Dr. Gareth Lewis appointed Chief Commercial Officer and Dr. Michelle Bradney as Chief Operating Officer.
dr. Lewis said he was excited about the potential to develop a treatment platform for a spectrum of inflammatory and fibrotic diseases.
“We have a shared mission and close collaboration with Australian biotech company Certa Therapeutics to improve the lives of patients suffering from difficult-to-treat and often life-threatening chronic diseases,” he said.
“The impact this collaboration could have in addressing the global concern and unmet need for inflammation and fibrosis is enormous.”
dr. Bradney signs with over 25 years of clinical development and medical experience in Australia and internationally.
“OccuRx has made significant progress in translating and advancing its lead compound into the clinical development phase,” she said.
It is an exciting time to join the team as we now move forward with clinical trials on patients with CKD.”