Aldea raises $24M for drug that targets severe drunkenness

This one’s a hair better than, ah, the hair of the dog: Aldea Pharmaceuticals’ drug for acute alcohol intoxication is advancing into clinical trials, thanks to a sizable new round of funding. The new drug’s meant to be intravenously administered to emergency room patients with alcohol poisoning. The company just closed out a $24 million Series […]

This one’s a hair better than, ah, the hair of the dog: Aldea Pharmaceuticals’ drug for acute alcohol intoxication is advancing into clinical trials, thanks to a sizable new round of funding. The new drug’s meant to be intravenously administered to emergency room patients with alcohol poisoning.

The company just closed out a $24 million Series B round. All previous investors participated in the round, including Canaan Partners and Correlation Ventures. It has two new investors – the Russia-based RusnanoMedInvest and China-based WuXi PharmaTech Corporate Ventures.

Millions of Americans are hospitalized each year for alcohol intoxication, adding to the crowding of ERs and putting a strain on the health system. But there’s no medical treatment for severe drunkenness – the current method to treat alcohol intoxication is to simply flush a hospitalized patient with fluids, and allow his or her own metabolic processes to kick into gear.

“The use of AD-6626 in the ER setting has the potential to stabilize patients suffering from acute alcohol toxicity and more rapidly improve the signs and symptoms of intoxication than waiting for alcohol metabolism, thereby simplifying patient care,” Aldea CEO William Yelle said in a statement. “This could facilitate treatment in individuals suffering from co-morbidities such as trauma, as well as benefiting the system as a whole.”

Aldea licensed the tech from Stanford University. It targets an enzyme within the aldehyde dehydrogenase superfamily called ALDH2 that metabolizes toxic aldehydes that form during the metabolization of alcohol. Beyond alcohol intoxication, Aldea’s drug candidate is being studied for use in treating Fanconi anemia, a rare genetic disease.

Oh, also: As Emily Mullin over at Fierce notes, it’s interesting to see financing from China and Russia – and could possibly be explained by their respective problems with alcohol abuse. She writes:

A 2014 report by the World Health Organization found that Russia had the most risky patterns of drinking. The same report also identified an increase in alcohol consumption in China over a 5-year period from 2006 to 2010. While Russia’s alcohol consumption is more deep-seated, the WHO report said China’s is related to rapid economic development and a rise in the average household income.