- The Pre-series A funding round was led by Ideaspring Capital and IAN
- The fresh funds raised will be utilized for “first-in-human” studies with Ahammune’s new drug candidate AB1001 for vitiligo
- The firm has placed drug candidate as a topical solution, which forms a 54% of the total market share of available options
- Ahammune Biosciences will also use the funds to build the patent portfolio and to further the research and development efforts of the company
Pune-based biotech startup company, Ahammune Biosciences has raised an undisclosed amount in a Pre-Series A round led by Ideaspring Capital and Indian Angel Network. Kotak Private Equity, Legacy Assets LLP (Baldota family fund), and Dr. Ajith Kamath (ex-Pfizer) have also participated in the round along with existing investors, including Dr. Anand Deshpande and Mr. 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 1-2 percent. 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 of 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% 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.
“This disruptive scientific domain area of Ahammune thus has the potential and huge upside to provide a range of treatments for other immune-mediated diseases of the skin,” added Dr. Ganju.
“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.
Further commenting, Padmaja Ruparel, Co-Founder at Indian Angel Network said, “Vitiligo is currently an unsolved problem and there is real need for a new drug. This need represents a potential market size of $2.4 billion by the year 2024. Currently, first-line treatments are generic drugs like corticosteroids and immunosuppressants, manufactured by several companies throughout the world. There is really no drug focused on curing vitiligo, which is approved by US-FDA and this presents a unique opportunity for the company. The team of Ahammune, led by Dr. Parul Ganju, has demonstrated a deep understanding of developing the drug and ensuring high level of efficacy”
The company has been founded on the basis of finding cost-effective solutions for chronic skin diseases. Earlier, Ahammune established the efficacy and safety of its drugs in preclinical animal studies and is now transitioning into a clinical phase company. The biotech firm has protected its innovations by filing for IPR, which are its strategic business assets. Since more than 900 million people are affected with skin diseases globally, Ahammune aims to provide patients with new and comprehensive treatment strategies.