Pune based biotech startup company, Ahammune Biosciences has raised an undisclosed amount in a round led by Ideaspring Capital and Indian Angel Network. Kotak Private Equity, Legacy Assets LLP and Dr. Ajith Kamath has also participated in the round along with existing investors, including Dr. Anand Deshpande and Suman Kant Munjal. The company also has Dr. Ganesh Natarajan as an existing investor and has been in receipt of funding grant from Government of India’s body, BIRAC.
The freshly infused capital will be used for ‘first in human’ studies with Ahammune’s new drug candidate AB1001 for vitiligo. The study will comprise Phase-I safety studies in healthy human volunteers and Phase-II efficacy studies in vitiligo patients. The biotech company will also deploy the funds in building the patent portfolio to further the research and development efforts.
Vitiligo, a debilitating skin depigmentation disorder, has a global prevalence of about one to two per cent. The burden of the disease is huge in India with certain regions having an incidence rate of about 8 percent. Ahammune, founded in May, 2016, has filed its first Investigational New Drug (IND) application with the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for approval to conduct human studies with its lead drug candidate for vitiligo.
Talking about the latest development, Dr. Parul Ganju, Co-founder and CEO, Ahammune Biosciences said, “Currently, there is no cure for vitiligo. Our drug aims to fulfill the unmet need in vitiligo therapeutic. We have positioned it as a topical solution, a segment of the market that accounted for 54 per cent of the total market share of available options. Our preclinical data suggest our drug candidate is very safe and is able to stop the spread of depigmentation and repigment white patches in animal models. Based on these studies, the first intended use of the drug will be in patients with non-segmental vitiligo, who have active vitiligo.”
Apart from the treatment for vitiligo, the company is aiming to target multiple dermatological indications with its deep pipeline of IP based molecules that modulate cellular pathways underlying skin health and immunity.
“Effective Vitiligo treatment is currently an absolute unmet need and an unattended market. Millions of people are suffering because of this disease and lack of available options. There is clearly a tremendous need for a new drug with an upside of huge market potential. In addition to Vitiligo, Ahammune team has the capability to discover drugs for other autoimmune skin disorders like Atopic Dermatitis, Psoriasis, Scleroderma that have an even bigger market. We are very excited to be the first institutional investor in Ahammune and back stellar founders Dr. Parul and Dr. K. Natarajan, Professor, School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University,” said Naganand Doraswamy, MD, Ideaspring Capital.