Nutritionist calculating body mass index of woman for obesity treatment in a clinic room. Current research shows the gut microbiome may also influence risk for obesity.
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San Diego-based Lipidio Pharmaceuticals has announced the close of an extension to its Series A financing, bringing the total amount raised to over $20M. The company’s lead program, GDD3898, is in development for the treatment of several conditions associated with excess body fat, including moderate to severe acne and sebaceous hyperplasia, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and obesity.

These are all major market opportunities.

GDD3898 is in Phase II for acne (acne vulgaris, i.e., common acne), which affects nearly 10% of the global population, making it the eighth most prevalent disease worldwide.  The drug is in Phase I for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)—the most common liver disease in the world. Over 20% of adults in the United States alone have the condition and worldwide estimates are as high as one billion people. Finally, According to WHO, there are more than 2.1 billion people, approximately 40% of the world’s population, now classified as overweight or obese and 5% of all deaths globally are obesity related. The drug is in Phase I for obesity.

In addition to current Series A investors, this extension was led with participation of several new investors, including Nancy Chang (former Founder and CEO of Tanox), John Maraganore (former Founding CEO of Alnylam), and Brent Saunders (former Chairman & CEO of Allergan). Previous investors in the Series A include other biopharma executives, as well as two Institutional Investor firms, Alethea Capital and 3E Bioventures.

“We are thrilled to raise this extension from several of the most accomplished and well-known executives in our industry. I want to sincerely thank Brent, John and Nancy, along with all our investors for their support, as we continue to advance GDD3898 in the clinic,” said J. Gordon Foulkes, PhD, CEO of Lipidio.

“Our investors are highly encouraged by our recent clinical data and new insights into the multiple mechanisms induced by GDD3898 in the skin, which provide a strong rationale for expansion of our current indications. The Series A extension funds will provide ample runway to analyze data from the three clinical trials anticipated to complete before the end of this year, and to support the launch of our Series B financing in the first quarter of 2023.”

John Maraganore, PhD, added, “I am excited about the innovative and differentiated approach that Lipidio is taking to tackle serious dermatological conditions. Gordon and his team have discovered a novel mechanism of action for GDD3898, and they are pursuing indications for which there are no approved therapies and no competing drugs in development. I believe GDD3898 holds tremendous potential as a novel topical product that could change the treatment paradigm for dermatologic and potentially other diseases.”

“I am proud to participate in this financing with such a stellar group of biopharma leaders,” said Brent Saunders. “GDD3898 has the potential to emerge as a first-in-class product for acne and sebaceous hyperplasia, filling a major gap in treatment and disrupting the market.”

Topical GDD3898 was designed to target the cells in the skin that make sebum, both inhibiting their proliferation and reducing their ability to produce excess sebum.

Maraganore was the founding CEO and a Director of Alnylam from 2002 to 2021, where he built and led the company through to the global approval and commercialization of the first four RNAi therapeutic medicines. Alnylam has current market capitalization of approximately $25B.

Saunders is executive chairman of the Beauty Health Company and chairman, co-founder and CEO of Vesper Health. He served as chairman and CEO of Allergan until May 2020, when the company was acquired by AbbVie Inc. in a transaction valued at approximately $63B.

Chang is Chairperson of Ansun Biopharma, which develops host-directed anti-viral therapies for respiratory viruses including parainfluenza virus and influenza. She also serves as CEO and President of Apex Enterprises, an investment management company.

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