Dezima Pharma (‘Dezima’) has announced the in-licensing of a cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitor DEZ-001 (formerly TA-8995) from Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC). Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
DEZ-001 has completed single and multiple ascending dose studies showing an unprecedented effect on high density lipoprotein (HDL) and low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels in healthy volunteers with a very favourable side-effect profile.
The company plans to support clinical development of DEZ-001 to Phase 3 clinical trials.
Professor John Kastelein, founder of Dezima, co-founder of UniQure and advisor to Forbion Capital Partners, identified DEZ-001 as a potentially best-in-class, potent and safe CETP inhibitor.
At the same time, Dezima also reported the strengthening of its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) with the addition of two world-leading experts in the dyslipidemia space: Dr Philip Barter, President of the International Atherosclerosis Society and Conjoint Professor at The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, and Dr Bryan Brewer, Director at Washington Cardiovascular Associates and Senior Research Consultant of Lipoprotein and Atherosclerosis Research at the Medstar Research Institute, Washington DC, USA.
Professor Kastelein, Dezima’s CSO and Chairman of its SAB, commented: “CETP inhibitors hold enormous potential to further normalize lipid levels in millions of dyslipidemic patients worldwide. This product was a compelling in-licensing prospect because of its promising early clinical efficacy and safety profile. By applying a smart development program, DEZ-001 could potentially enter the market at a time similar to competing CETP inhibitors.”
Sander van Deventer, Dezima’s interim-CEO and General Partner at Forbion Capital Partners, who seed-financed Dezima together with BioGeneration Ventures, added: “The dyslipidemia space represents an attractive investment opportunity due to the continued high unmet medical need and the introduction of several next-generation therapeutic approaches. The addition of these two renowned experts to Dezima’s SAB will support the company in advancing DEZ-001, and in helping to identify additional earlier-stage dyslipidemia assets in order to develop a range of promising therapies in the CVD field.”