US-based biopharmaceutical firm Civitas Therapeutics has secured a $38m in series B financing which will be used for the late-stage development of an inhaled form of levodopa also called as 'L-dopa' to treat symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD).
The financing round led by Bay City Capital was joined by new investors RA Capital and another undisclosed blue chip public investment fund.
All existing investors Alkermes plc, Canaan Partners, Fountain Healthcare Partners, and Longitude Capital participated in the round.
Bay City Capital partner Rob Hopfner said Civitas, along with its scientific and patient foundation collaborators, has made rapidly advanced the development of CVT-301 since the company's launch in 2011.
"The company's track record of outstanding execution gives us confidence that they are destined to deliver important new therapies to patients," Hopfner said.
Dr Hopfner and Rajeev Shah of RA Capital will join the Civitas board of directors under the terms of the financing.
Financing follows the start of Phase IIb clinical trial of CVT-301, an inhaled formulation of L-dopa, being developed for the treatment of intermittent debilitating motor fluctuations (OFF episodes) associated with PD.
Under the Phase IIb study, CVT-301 will be used in patients for one month continuously to see the efficacy and safety in treating emergent OFF episodes.
Preliminary data from the trial, which will be carried out on 80 patients, will be released in the first half of 2014.
In the Phase IIa study for CVT-301, patients treated with CVT-301 in the OFF state produced a rapid and durable improvement in motor function, according to the company.
Civitas CEO and co-founder Glenn Batchelder said: "We are pleased that our new investors recognised the significant value that has been created since our initial financing, and we are excited to have their input and support as we further develop our lead programme along with the broader pipeline."
In addition, the company will look at more opportunities to leverage the ARCUS platform for other disease states where the potential to deliver a large, precise dose of a drug from a simple, breath actuated device, would offer a significant clinical advantage.
CVT-301 leverages the ARCUS platform to deliver a precise dose to the deep lung for rapid and predictable L-dopa absorption.