HemaQuest raises $13 million for phase IIb study of sickle cell disease
HemaQuest Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company focused on developing small molecule therapeutics to treat hemoglobin disorders, has closed a $13 million extension of its Series B financing.
The Series B extension is being funded by HemaQuest’s existing investors: Aberdare Ventures, De Novo Ventures, Forward Ventures, Latterell Venture Partners and Lilly Ventures. Proceeds from the financing will be used to fund a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase IIb clinical study evaluating lead product candidate HQK-1001 in patients with sickle cell disease. HemaQuest believes this financing, combined with existing cash balances, will be sufficient to allow completion of the trial and to fund operations through early 2014.
HQK-1001 has been shown to stimulate fetal hemoglobin expression and red blood cell production in the laboratory, reducing the frequency of pain crises and hospitalizations of patients with sickle cell disease. It has received Orphan Drug designation in the U.S. and Europe for both sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia.
“We are extremely pleased to have the continuing support of our existing investors,” said John P. Longenecker, Ph.D., CEO of HemaQuest. “This additional financing enables us to continue our HQK-1001 clinical development program for sickle cell, moving another step closer to a new therapy for this devastating disease affecting underserved populations around the world.”