Confluence Granted $100,000 to Advance Fragile X Social, Communication Therapy

Confluence Granted $100,000 to Advance Fragile X Social, Communication Therapy
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Confluence Pharmaceuticals will use a $100,000 investment to further its development of ACP, an investigational therapy that aims to treat social and communication impairments related to fragile X syndrome and autism spectrum disorder.

The capital is from the Indiana University (IU) Philanthropic Venture Fund, which had already invested $200,000 in Confluence to advance the treatment candidate. The venture fund helps university innovators to transform their ideas into new products, services, and companies.

ACP is based on the generic compound acamprosate — used in the U.S. to reduce alcohol cravings. It has shown potential in pilot studies to improve focus and communication, while easing social withdrawal and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD, according to Confluence.

The therapy has received orphan drug designation in Europe and the U.S for the treatment of fragile X. Confluence is developing the treatment with AOP Orphan Pharmaceuticals, which seeks to bring rare disease therapies first to Austria, then Europe, and ultimately worldwide.

The company is preparing for next year’s planned Phase 2 trials in fragile X, expected to be funded by capital raised in a 2021 Series B financing round. This funding also would help advance approaches to treat autism.

“We are delighted to have the IU Philanthropic Venture Fund as a partner and its continued support by participating in our bridge extension,” Steve Johns, Confluence’s president, said in a press release. “A medication that could lead to an overall improvement in core symptoms will have a significant impact on patients’ daily living activities and quality of life.”

The intellectual property of Confluence, based in Carmel, Ind., ACP is licensed at Indiana University through the IU Innovation and Commercialization Office.

“These strong IU connections make Confluence Pharmaceuticals an ideal investment for the evergreen structure of the IU Philanthropic Venture Fund,” said Teri Willey, fund manager and executive director at IU Ventures. “It also shows how the IU Innovation and Commercialization Office, which manages and licenses IU intellectual property, works with IU Ventures … to help bring IU discoveries to the public through commercial channels.”

As the leading single-gene cause of autism, fragile X is associated with intellectual and emotional issues, It affects 1 in 7,000 males and 1 in 11,000 females in the U.S.

“We’re pleased to have this opportunity to continue to support the Confluence team and their efforts to advance therapies to improve the capabilities of individuals with fragile X syndrome and autism spectrum disorder to talk, think, socially interact and self-care,” Willey said. “They advance the potential for a better future.”

Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”
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José is a science news writer with a PhD in Neuroscience from Universidade of Porto, in Portugal. He has also studied Biochemistry at Universidade do Porto and was a postdoctoral associate at Weill Cornell Medicine, in New York, and at The University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada. His work has ranged from the association of central cardiovascular and pain control to the neurobiological basis of hypertension, and the molecular pathways driving Alzheimer’s disease.
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Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”
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