Authored by James Sheppard
As part of Liftstream’s commitment to rare diseases, in the run up to Rare Disease Day 2013 we will be profiling 10 companies that are active in rare disease research. In the first of the series we look at San Diego based company Sangart.
Sangart was founded in 1998 to develop therapies based on a novel understanding of oxygen transport. This has led to Sangart developing an innovative therapy called MP4OX which is used to enhance the standard function of red blood cells. MP4OX can reach parts of the body red blood cells cannot reach and is designed to improve perfusion and oxygen delivery to tissues. In May 2012, Sangart announced they had raised $50m in series G funding to conduct a phase IIb trial using MP4OX in Traumatic Hemorrhagic Shock patients. The funding round was led by Leucadia National Corporation and brings Sangart’s total funding to an impressive $230m since 1998. Following the funding, Sangart announced in October 2012 that they had completed enrolment of the Phase IIb trial of MP4OX in Traumatic Hemorrhagic Shock patients with data to be presented at the end of 2013.
Sangart is undertaking a second development programme using the MP4CO molecule which delivers low, non-toxic levels of Carbon Monoxide to treat Sickle Cell Anaemia. MP4CO received orphan drug designation from the US FDA in November 2010. Following the orphan drug designation, Sangart plan to push ahead with the clinical program and advancing this novel therapy for Sickle Cell Anaemia. In January 2012, Sangart initiated a Phase Ib trial which aims to be completed in mid 2013.
Sangart underwent a major restructuring following the arrival of new CEO Brian O’Callaghan from NPS Pharmaceuticals where he was COO. Mr O’Callaghan proceeded to reduce the workforce by 50% to 40 people and took Sangart from a late stage company back to mid-level. Since the restructure, Sangart have added 29 people and have built on a successful Phase IIa trial to a phase IIb trial. Sangart recently announced they are to build a European manufacturing and headquarters in Cork, Ireland. This development will employ 120 people and is due for completion in 2015.
Longterm, Sangart is looking to raise more money in order to continue development. Recently however, Mr O’Callaghan suggested that if this could not be done they would look at other exit strategies. Mr O’Callaghan said that Sangart would be looking for partnerships or perhaps be acquired in the longterm. Although the IPO market is not particularly hospitable at the moment, Mr O’Callaghan did not rule out the possibility of an IPO.
Liftstream is supporting Rare Disease Day 2013. In profiling this company we hope to bring greater awareness to rare diseases and the companies working in this area. Liftstream is sponsoring the 2013 Orphan Drug Congress and we look forward to having contact with you at these events or by contacting us via Linkedin or Twitter