US-based Comanche Biopharma has raised $75m in an oversubscribed Series B financing round to develop its small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapy, CBP-4888, as a treatment for preeclampsia.

The financiers included Google Ventures, F-Prime Capital, Lilly Asia Ventures, Longview Healthcare Ventures, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and Atlas Venture. Furthermore, Scott Gottlieb from NEA and David Grayzel from Atlas will join Comanche’s board.

Preeclampsia is persistent high blood pressure that develops during the second trimester of pregnancy or up to six weeks following delivery. It can be associated with high levels of proteins in the blood, decreased blood platelets, fluid in the lungs, or seizures. It occurs in 2-9% of pregnancies and the only management is premature delivery.

Recent studies have found that excess circulating placental soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 (sFlt1) is present in patients with preeclampsia, and can therefore, contribute to its pathogenesis. A 2023 study found that the administration of sFlt1 in pregnant rats caused preeclampsia.

CBP-4888 is a subcutaneous siRNA therapeutic that decreases the production of sFlt1 in the placenta. The therapy received fast track designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of sFlt1-mediated pre-term preeclampsia in August 2023.

Comanche completed a randomised placebo-controlled Phase I trial (NCT05881993) of CBP-4888 in healthy non-pregnant volunteers. The study enrolled approximately 15 participants aged 18-50 years, as per ClinicalTrial.gov.

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Comanche plans to use the FDA-cleared immunoassay to detect preeclampsia, by Thermo Fisher Scientific, to determine the eligibility of the Phase II trial evaluating CBP-4888. The company only plans to include pregnant women with elevated levels of sFlt1 and exclude those with other underlying diseases.

There is a high unmet need for women’s health indications, particularly pregnant women. Johnson & Johnson is developing an IgG-specific monoclonal antibody, nipocalimab, as a treatment of severe haemolytic disease of the foetus and newborn (HDFN). The company is evaluating the therapy in a Phase III AZALEA trial (NCT05912517).