Canadian biotech company developing ground-breaking therapeutic designed to minimize dermal scarring (fibrosis)
TORONTO (February 16, 2016) — ScarX Therapeutics, a Canadian biotechnology company commercializing innovative treatments for dermal scarring (fibrosis), has closed a $2 million Series A financing. The company will complete a Phase I clinical trial of its lead candidate, SCX-001, in human volunteers, with the eventual goal of creating better functional and cosmetic patient outcomes.
SCX-001 is the first nefopam topical cream designed to reduce post-surgical scarring and improve wound healing following surgical wound closure. ScarX Therapeutics is built upon Dr. Benjamin Alman’s 30-year research career, and is based upon the novel finding that nefopam, a well-characterized small molecule, modulates a protein called beta-catenin that is associated with hypertrophic or excessive scarring in humans. The molecule, originally developed as a prescription oral and IV analgesic in Europe over 30 years ago, had never been applied to dermal scarring until Dr. Alman made a scientific breakthrough by discovering this new application. He invented the technology while at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids); ScarX Therapeutics was spun-off as an Ontario-based company by MaRS Innovation and SickKids.
“In addition to the obvious cosmetic concerns, hyperplastic scars cause considerable disability, especially when they occur near a joint,” said Dr. Alman, scientific founder and ScarX’s chief science officer. “While many factors play a role in excessive scarring, our work in the lab found that beta-catenin activation is a common mechanism for hypertrophic scars. We screened over 2,000 compounds to identify SCX-001 as the one effective therapeutic approach to this problem. Targeting beta-catenin with SCX-001 will prevent excessive scar formation in the vast majority of individuals, resulting in better cosmetic and functional outcomes from injury or surgery.”
The company’s investors in this financing round include Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator, BDC Capital, MaRS Innovation and other investors. With the proceeds, ScarX will complete a Phase I, single-site clinical trial to establish a safety profile for SCX-001 while integrating secondary observational endpoints to provide efficacy signals. Twenty-four subjects will participate in the trial, which will take 18 months.
“ScarX is committed to bringing the first clinically meaningful prescription therapeutic to market,” said Stephen Whitehead, president and CEO. “We are pleased to be the second investment for Accel-Rx and BDC Capital’s joint portfolio, who join our existing investors, MaRS Innovation and the Ontario Centres of Excellence, among others.”
Prior to today’s financing, ScarX Therapeutics raised $1.7 million in dilutive and $1 million in non-dilutive funding to develop its lead candidate and complete pre-clinical studies.
“When this life sciences technology was disclosed to MaRS Innovation in 2009, it was an early-stage discovery in a dish of cells,” said Parimal Nathwani, chairman of the ScarX Board of Directors and vice-president, Life Sciences, at MaRS Innovation. “Investing in and developing Dr. Alman’s research from the bench through non-clinical development and into human clinical trials is a significant success for MaRS Innovation’s business model. We look forward to demonstrating efficacy in patients.”
About ScarX Therapeutics
ScarX Therapeutics (ScarX) is a Canadian biotechnology company, founded in partnership with The Hospital for Sick Children and MaRS Innovation, that discovers and develops innovative treatments for dermal scarring (fibrosis). The company’s lead candidate will be the first topical prescription cream to treat and prevent post-surgical scarring, with the eventual goal of creating better functional and cosmetic outcomes for patients. In 2015, BioCentury featured ScarX Therapeutics as an emerging company to watch.