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.”
“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.”
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