Proterris has announced the completion of its merger with Alfama, creating a dominant player in carbon monoxide (CO) therapies.

Under the transaction, Proterris has acquired Alfama’s CO-releasing molecule (CORM) assets and all its subsidiaries, including Alfama, located near Lisbon, Portugal.

The completed merger will be renamed Proterris (Portugal) Lda.

Proterris MD, chairman and CEO Jeffrey Wager said: “Alfama has discovered and developed unique families of CORMs which have demonstrated very potent antifibrotic, anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective effects with very low toxicity potential.

“Until now, achievement of such drug-like profiles for CORMs has eluded scientists and companies alike. Alfama’s CORM assets represent excellent candidates for drug development for those indications which are less amenable to therapy with CO gas.

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“In addition, by establishing Proterris (Portugal) Lda, we are now well-positioned to pursue a variety of European partnering and fundraising activities in both the private and public sectors. This coincides very well with the Series A fundraising campaign, which is launching with the closing of this merger.”

"We are very glad to make Alfama part of Proterris’ exceptional IP portfolio, an important step in our evolution towards bringing low-dose CO therapies to patients."

Along with this merger, Proterris will also implement a collaboration with Professor Carlos Romão of the Institute of Chemical and Biological Technology (ITQB) of the New University of Lisbon (NOVA) to advance CORM candidates for a variety of indications.

It also intends to continue advancing its own gaseous Phase II/III trial in delayed graft function (DGF) before moving one of the CORM candidates into clinical trials.

The company has planned to start clinical trials in the next 18-24 months.

Alfama chief executive Nuno Arantes-Oliveira said: “The merger of Alfama with Proterris represents a very synergistic and strategic fit between two companies with common goals, and substantially enhances corporate value for both sets of shareholders.

“We are very glad to make Alfama part of Proterris’ exceptional IP portfolio, an important step in our evolution towards bringing low-dose CO therapies to patients.”

The Proterris-Alfama proposition for CO therapy received around $23m in funding for three Phase II clinical trials using low-dose CO gas.

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has funded these trials for the last five years for indications covered by patents licensed from a group of top US universities or written by Proterris.