Drug discovery and development company, Blueberry Therapeutics, has secured a GBP3.6 million extension to its previously successful GBP10.8 million Series B fundraising.
Japanese investor, Medical Incubator Japan (MIJ), and a private syndicate of US Board Certified Dermatologists – led by Dr Omar Ibrahimi of the Connecticut Skin Institute – have invested GBP3.1 million and GBP500k, respectively.
Blueberry Therapeutics specialises in dermatology-focused drug discovery and development, working in the field of nano-medicines for difficult to treat diseases of the skin and nail, including fungal nail infections, athlete’s foot, and acne.
Funding will be put towards the development of BB2603; a drug aimed at treating onychomycosis (a fungal nail infection), with additional funding to be used for other programmes, including tinea pedis (athlete’s foot).
The Series B investment has arisen partly in response to the Covid-19 pandemic – which has affected clinical trials globally – but has largely been driven by a series of successful pre-clinical trials throughout 2020, which have broadened the Blueberry Therapeutics portfolio.
BB2603 is Blueberry Therapeutics lead drug candidate and is now in Phase II of clinical development. It is designed to enhance the delivery of terbinafine – an anti-fungal medicine – under the nail and to treat infections quickly and effectively, using a smaller dose.
The additional GBP3.6m funding will support the Phase II dose-finding study, ahead of Phase III clinical development in the US and EU for the treatment of onychomycosis.
Dr John Ridden, CEO at Blueberry Therapeutics, says: “This latest phase of development for BB2603 marks a significant step forward for the treatment of fungal nail infections, at a fraction of the dose usually required when treating with terbinafine.
“The funding extension not only enables us to progress our main onychomycosis programme to the next stages of development, but it also enhances our relationships in the critically important Japanese and US markets. We look forward to working with MIJ, and Dr Ibrahimi and syndicate, to take this project forward.
MIJ is an independent, healthcare-focused venture capital company aimed at investing in life sciences companies across a broad range of innovations including drug discovery, digital health, and medical devices. Japan is the third largest healthcare market in the world, and MIJ will work in partnership with Blueberry Therapeutics to assist in delivery of these new treatments to the Japanese market.
Jun Katsura, President, and co-CEO of MIJ, says: “We are very pleased to be a shareholder in Blueberry Therapeutics and to be able to support the management team in its quest to deliver high value innovative medicines for patients suffering from a range of dermatological disorders, and we look forward to collaborating in the development of the company’s products.”
Dr Omar Ibrahimi, founding medical director at the Connecticut Skin Institute, says: “The team and I were impressed with the Blueberry approach and felt that the Blueberry technology was compelling enough to invest our own money in developing it further. BB2603 addresses a clinical problem that we have struggled to treat effectively for decades.”