To prevent complications of type 1 diabetes, company looks to C-peptide

A company founded on decades of research regarding C-peptide and long-term complications of type 1 diabetes is in phase 2 trials of a once-weekly C-peptide replacement therapy and is raising fresh capital.

Name of Company: Cebix Inc.

Industry: Pharmaceuticals


City, State: La Jolla, California (with an R&D affiliate in Stockholm, Sweden)

Solution/Product: Cebix is developing a disease-modifying treatment for diabetic peripheral neuropathy, which it thinks could eventually be used as a treatment for all microvascular complications of diabetes. The therapy is Ersatta, a long-acting form of C-peptide designed to be administered once-weekly.

Patients with type 1 diabetes are unable to product proinsulin, which is made up of insulin and C-peptide. Although current diabetes treatment is focused on insulin replacement, decades of research by Cebix’s founder has led the company to believe that a lack of C-peptide is also a contributor to many long-term complications associated with diabetes. Animal studies and early clinical studies of the replacement therapy have demonstrated a protective effect of C-peptide treatment in disease-related kidney, peripheral nerve and central nervous system abnormalities. A full look at the company’s history and research can be found in this article from A Sweet Life.

Money Raised: At least $12.9 million; could potentially raise up to $30.9 million in this round of funding, according to a SEC filing. Previously, the company raised at least $14 million in 2009-2010.

How will it be used: The company didn’t respond to a request for comment, but a news release sent out earlier this summer indicated that the treatment, which has been granted fast-track status by the FDA, is now in a phase 2 clinical trial in 40 type 1 diabetes patients with mild to moderate diabetic peripheral neuropathy. In June, the company announced that Ersatta was well tolerated with no serious adverse events in a Phase 1 study in type 1 diabetes patients.

Investors: Unknown. Representatives of Sofinnova Ventures, InterWest Partners and Thomas McNerny & Partners sit on the board of directors.

Management team: President and CEO Joel Martin is former CEO at Altair Therapeutics, an Isis Pharmaceuticals spinoff that shut down early last year, and a former partner at Forward Ventures. Co-founder and chief scientific officer John Wahren was an active researcher for nearly 30 years at the Karolinska Institute and Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden with a focus on metabolic disease.

Market opportunity: Current diabetes treatments focus on replacing insulin, which allow a person to stay alive but do not cure the disease or necessarily prevent its long-term effects. Type 1 diabetes affects up to 3 million Americans, according to JDRF. “There is a significant need for disease-modifying treatments for the long-term complications of diabetes such as peripheral neuropathy, since current treatments focus only on symptomatic relief,” Cebix’s chief medical officer, has said.

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