Developing lead compound against psoriasis

1st April 2013

Avexxin AS, a Norwegian pharma company focusing on the development of novel small molecule therapeutics for patients suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions, has announced the closure of a financing round enabling the company to take its lead compound against psoriasis through early clinical development.
The investment is managed by Sarsia Seed, an early stage investment fund located in Bergen, Norway, in syndication with Leiv Eiriksson Invest, an early stage investment fund in Trondheim, Norway.
Psoriasis is a chronic, recurring skin disease, affecting 1-3 per cent of the world’s population. It is characterized by abnormally high rate of growth of skin cells resulting in red and inflamed skin and plague formation, leading to low quality of life of the sufferers and often in severe morbidity and disability. The underlying cause of disease is yet unknown, but a problem with the immune system is believed to play an important role.
Avexxin was established in March 2005 as a result of several years of scientific work at Prof Berit Johansen’s laboratory at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology aiming at  expanding the insight into and understanding of the biology of the inflammatory process.This has resulted in a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory disorders. Besides psoriasis, the company currently has early development programs targeting rheumatoid arthritis and glomerulonephritis.
The founders of Avexxin are the inventors from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Oslo University together with Leiv Eiriksson Nyskaping and Ventac Partners, an international team with extensive experience in the management of life science companies. In 2007, Sarsia Seed together with Karolinska Innovation became shareholders in the company.
Mikael Oerum, CEO of Avexxin: "The funding of Avexxin allows the company to bring its lead compound against psoriasis through to Proof-of-Concept in man.  Based on Avexxin’s advanced understanding of the biology of the inflammatory process, the company is developing a new topical treatment which we anticipate will offer symptom relief to psoriasis patients in a manner which is more rapid and safe compared to current topical products.”
Farzaad Abdi-Dezfuli, PhD, Partner at Sarsia Seed: ”We are pleased to have been able to form an investment syndicate with Leiv Eiriksson Invest supporting Avexxin’s advancement of its novel psoriasis treatment into clinical trials. We believe Avexxin offers a novel therapeutic approach to the treatment of chronic inflammatory disorders, particularly in dealing with mild-to-moderate psoriasis”.

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