EIP Pharma, announced on 5/16/18 the successful completion of a $20.5 million Series B financing. The Series B financing was led by Access Industries. This new round follows a Series A financing in 2017 funded by EIP senior leadership and other healthcare industry executives.
Proceeds from the financing will be used to further advance development of neflamapimod, an oral small molecule inhibitor of the intra-cellular enzyme p38 MAP kinase alpha (p38 alpha) being studied in Alzheimer's disease. In times of stress and disease p38 alpha is expressed in neurons, and irregular p38 alpha activity within the neuron can contribute to synaptic dysfunction. Synaptic dysfunction has emerged as the major driver in the development of memory deficits in Alzheimer's disease.
Neflamapimod is the first investigational drug to demonstrate the potential to reverse synaptic dysfunction and in turn improve episodic memory function in early Alzheimer's disease. A Phase 2b double-blind, placebo-controlled study called REVERSE-SD is currently enrolling 150 patients. The primary endpoint of REVERSE-SD is improvement in episodic memory, as assessed by the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test. Secondary endpoints include Clinical Dementia Rating Scale Sum-of-Boxes, Wechsler Memory Scale, and spinal fluid biomarkers of disease progression. Results from REVERSE-SD are expected to be available in the second half of 2019
Neflamapimod was originally developed by Vertex and was studied for rheumatoid arthritis. EIP Pharma licensed the compound in 2014 for development and commercialization as a treatment of central nervous system (CNS) disorders.
"We are grateful for the support from Access Industries as they share our commitment to advancing neflamapimod given the encouraging Phase 2a results and the significant unmet medical need that remains in Alzheimer's disease treatments," said John Alam, M.D., CEO of EIP Pharma. "This new funding is earmarked to support our Phase 2b study, further exploration of other areas where neflamapimod may have therapeutic potential and expansion of our team."
A previous Phase 2a study with neflamapimod published earlier this year in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology showed a statistically significant improvement in episodic memory function, as assessed by immediate recall and delayed recall using the Wechsler Memory Scale.