Azelon Pharmaceuticals in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, has received $4.5 million in Series A financing from three venture capital firms to develop its nasal spray formulation of teriparatide for the treatment of osteoporosis.
Palo Alto, California-based Prospect Venture Partners, Lighthouse Capital Partners in Menlo Park, California, and Covington Venture Fund in Toronto were the sources of the new investment.
The drug has undergone initial human safety and pharmacology studies, a statement from the company said. Azelon is advancing the spray, ZT-034, into mid-stage clinical trials.
The financing has prompted a restructuring of the company, formerly called Zelos Therapeutics.
Don Hayden has been appointed executive chairman and Joan Lau has been named president and CEO. Lau succeeds Brian MacDonald, who will remain with the company as a senior clinical adviser.
Hayden worked with Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) for 25 years, most recently as executive vice president and president, Americas, where he oversaw two major pharmaceutical units and two healthcare businesses with combined annual sales of more than $10 billion. He also serves as a senior adviser to Prospect Venture Fund, according to the firm’s website. He is the chairman of Insmed (NASDAQ: INSM) and is lead director at Amicus (NASDAQ: FOLD), among other board positions.
Lau previously served as CEO of Locus Pharmaceuticals, a venture-backed drug discovery company. Prior to Locus, she worked at Merck.
The new funding comes at a time when venture capital investment in biopharma has fallen 41 percent in the past three years, according to a report published last week by the National Venture Capital Association.