- Three months after securing $28 million in Series A funding, Provention Bio, Inc. has added two clinical-stage immunology candidates to its pipeline in a licensing deal with Janssen.
- Provention plans to begin testing the two candidates in proof-of-concept studies beginning in the first half of next year, according to a Thursday statement.
- The first candidate, a CSF-1R small molecule inhibitor, will target Crohn's disease while the second, an anti-Toll-like Receptor 3 antibody, will be studied as a treatment for moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis.
Provention launched in June with the backing of MDB Capital Group and co-investors Johnson & Johnson Innovation and JDRF T1D Fund.
The $28.4 million in Series A financing will help finance the company's initial work, with plans for an initial public offering sometime in 2018 to raise further investments in the nascent biopharma.
Provention appeared to have already locked up partnerships with Janssen and Finnish biotech Vactech Oy when it announced the Series A back in late June. Subsequent announcements have given more details around licensing deals with the two companies that give Provention three clinical-stage or clinic-ready candidates.
All three candidates target immune-mediated diseases. Provention's lead program, an enterovirus vaccine platform licensed from Vactech, is aimed at lowering type 1 diabetes by vaccinating against coxsackievirus B infection, which is thought to trigger onset of the chronic disease.
That program, however, remains in IND-enabling stage. The two drugs licensed from Janssen look further along, and Provention plans to push them into new clinical studies next year.
PRV-6527, the candidate for Crohn's disease, will be tested in a Phase 2a study that is expected to enroll about 80 patients. The other, called PRV-300, will be evaluated in a 32-patient Phase 1/2 trial.
No financial details were disclosed related to either the Janssen deal or the agreement with Vactech.
"The in-licensing of PRV6527 and PRV300 from Janssen continues to build momentum following our corporate launch last quarter and advances our strategic intent to source clinical-stage programs targeting the interception or prevention of immune-mediated diseases," said company CEO Ashleigh Palmer in a statement.