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Clinical-Stage Biotech Lands $15M in Early Venture Funding

Man scratching his back

(Wikimedia Commons)

4 June 2014. Trevi Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology company in New Haven, Connecticut developing therapies for chronic itching conditions, secured $15 million in its second venture financing round. The funding, the first installment in a projected $25 million round, was led by current investor TPG Biotech and includes current angel investors in the company.

Trevi Therapeutics develops therapies for chronic pruritus, a continuous itching disorder associated with kidney dialysis and other conditions, which can become intense and disabling. The company’s lead product is Nalbuphine ER, an extended-release opioid compound taken orally that modifies signals to specific nerve cell receptors, and thus relieving the chronic itching sensation.

Nalbuphine was tested for safety and effects on the body in an early-stage clinical trial, and reported by Trevi last month at a meeting of the Society for Investigative Dermatology. In the trial, 14 dialysis patients suffering with pruritus were treated with escalating doses of Nalbuphine over 17 days. The findings showed increasing the dose of the drug relieved more of the itching sensation in 13 of the 14 patients. The drug was also well tolerated by the patients.

The company plans to use the funds raised in this round for two more clinical trials with larger samples of pruritus patients, one with uremic pruritus associated with dialysis, and the other with prurigo nodularis, a skin condition characterized by hard, crusty lumps causing intense itching. Those trials are expected to begin later this year.

Trevi Therapeutics secured its first-round funding of $12.8 million, also led by TPG Biotech, in December 2012. TPG Biotech is the life science venture capital division of TPG (formerly Texas Pacific Group), a private equity investment company.

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