Biotechnology startup Ventus Therapeutics is licensing its lead research program, a drug candidate for inflammatory disorders, to Novo Nordisk in exchange for $70 million.
The experimental drug, dubbed VENT-01, is a small molecule that targets inflammasomes, which are protein complexes in immune system cells that activate inflammatory responses.
Though it was a difficult decision to part with Ventus’ lead program, company CEO Marcelo Bigal said the turbulent stock market contributed to the decision to partner with Novo.
“Without Novo, we were funded to bring three programs to the clinic, but with Novo we’re now funded to bring the programs into Phase 2, which means we’re funded into 2025,” Bigal said in an interview.
An inflammasome known as NLRP3 is the focus of Ventus’ experimental treatment. NLRP3 is implicated in a wide range of diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Type 2 diabetes, intestinal cancer and fatty liver disorders.
Novo will develop VENT-01 for use in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, chronic kidney disease and other cardiometabolic disorders — areas in which the Danish drugmaker has experience developing medicines. READ MORE
by Gwendolyn Wu
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