ImmusanT, Developing Celiac Disease Treatments, Closes $20M Series A

12/13/11Follow @xconomy

Cambridge, MA-based ImmusanT, a new biotech working on therapies targeting celiac disease, announced today that it has wrapped up $20 million in Series A financing from New York-based Vatera Healthcare Partners.

The money will go to development of ImmusanT’s vaccine and diagnostic and monitoring tool for patients with celiac disease, a condition that is normally treated by instructing patients to avoid the protein gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, and rye. The vaccine, Nexvax2, contains three proprietary peptides that are designed to create an immune response in patients and make them tolerant to the toxic effects of gluten. ImmusanT scientific founder and chief scientific officer Bob Anderson discovered the three peptides. The company’s hope is that patients would ultimately able to eat foods that contain gluten.

ImmusanT said it has tested the safety, tolerability, and bioactivity of the vaccine in a Phase 1 clinical study. It is also developing a test for diagnosing individuals with celiac disease, determining who is likely to respond to the Nexvax2 vaccine, and monitoring patients who are on the treatment.

Vatera Healthcare Partners was started in 2007 by Michael Jaharis, founder of Kos Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Abbott Laboratories in 2006) and Key Pharmaceuticals (merged with Schering-Plough in 1986).

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