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Who we are
Herantis Pharma Plc is a drug development company focused on early clinical development of innovative drugs in unmet clinical needs. Our emphasis is in regenerative medicine where we have two first-in-class assets based on globally leading science in their fields: CDNF for neurodegenerative diseases, primarily Parkinson’s and ALS; and Lymfactin® for breast cancer associated lymphedema, with potential also in primary lymphedema. The shares of Herantis are listed on the First North Finland marketplace run by Nasdaq Helsinki stock exchange.
Our Lymfactin® is the world’s first clinical stage gene therapy aiming to repair damages of the lymphatic system. Lymfactin® is an adenovirus-based gene therapy expressing the growth factor VEGF-C specific to the development of lymphatic vessels. Based on preclinical studies it is expected to trigger the growth of new functional lymphatic vasculature in the damaged area and thus repair the underlying cause of lymphedema. Lymfactin®, patented by Herantis, is based on the internationally renowned scientific research of academy professor Kari Alitalo and his research group at the University of Helsinki. Herantis also holds patents for a combination therapy, which may expand the use of Lymfactin® in primary lymphedema.
CDNF, or Cerebral Dopamine Neurotrophic Factor, is an endoplasmic reticulum located and secreted protein with neuroprotective and neurorestorative properties, patented worldwide by Herantis. Following a preclinical development program, which has showed it as efficacious in several preclinical models of Parkinson’s disease (PD), Herantis is preparing for a first-in-human clinical study of CDNF in the treatment of PD and has a preclinical development program for the treatment of ALS. In preclinical studies including chronic toxicology studies, CDNF administration has been safe; CDNF has protected and regenerated midbrain dopamine-generating cells suggesting a potential for disease modification of PD; it has also shown efficacy in non-motor symptoms in PD. In an ALS disease model CDNF has significantly increased survival and reduced symptoms. This suggests the potential to address unmet clinical needs in both PD and ALS. CDNF is based on research at the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki, lead by professor Mart Saarma.
Approximately 20% of breast cancer patients who undergo axillary lymph node dissection develop secondary lymphedema, a chronic, progressive, disabling and disfiguring condition that severely affects quality of life. Symptoms include a chronic swelling of an upper limb, thickening and hardening of skin, loss of mobility and flexibility, pain, and susceptibility to secondary infections. Secondary lymphedema is currently treated with compression garments, special massage, and exercises. While these therapies may relief the symptoms in some patients they do not cure lymphedema, which is caused by damage to the lymphatic system. There are currently no approved medicines for the treatment of this condition.
Parkinson’s disease is a slowly progressing neurodegenerative disease caused by the death of dopaminergic neurons in the brains. Common first symptoms of the disease include tremors, rigidity and slowness of movement. While the motor symptoms can be treated with medication the disease progression cannot be prevented, and the benefits of medication may be lost with disease progression or side effects can become unmanageable. In addition, Parkinson’s disease may cause non-motor symptoms such as sleep problems, depression, and anxiety, which are not alleviated by current Parkinson’s drugs. Estimated 7 million people worldwide have Parkinson’s disease.
What are we looking for
Late stage development partners from phase II through commercialization for innovative clinical stage assets: Endogenous small molecule Cis-UCA for safe treatment of inflammations of the skin and the eye (phase II completed in Dry Eye and Atopic Dermatitis); Novel neuroprotective and neurotrophic factor CDNF for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease (phase I/II starting in 2016) and ALS; Lymfactin®, world’s first gene therapy aiming to repair the lymphatic system (phase I started in 1H/2016).
Seasoned board of directors and management including CEOs of several international public and private pharmaceutical companies.