Cortria Corporation Announces Appointment of Daniel Grau As CEO & Vice-Chairman and Richard King As Director
Domain Associates and MVM Life Science Partners, two leading venture capital firms, today announced the appointment of Daniel Grau as CEO & Vice-Chairman and Richard King as Director of Cortria Corporation, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing safe and well-tolerated medicines to fight cardiovascular disease.
TRIA-662, Cortria’s first product candidate, is currently in Phase 2 clinical development for the treatment of dyslipidemia, an atherogenic disorder characterized by abnormal lipid levels in the bloodstream. TRIA-662 contains 1-methylnicotinamide, a metabolite of niacin (vitamin B3). Niacin was one of the first agents proven in clinical trials to extend life for patients with atherogenic cardiovascular disease. However the side-effects of niacin, principally skin flushing, force many patients to discontinue therapy, significantly limiting the therapeutic utility to patients and the market potential of the drug. In preliminary patient studies, TRIA-662 indicated the potential to provide the benefits of niacin therapy without causing flushing.
Previous efforts to develop a “flush-free” niacin therapeutic, using extended release formulations, dose titration and, more recently, fixed dose combination technologies, have not succeeded. As a result, there remains a significant opportunity for an agent that can deliver the benefits of niacin therapy without causing flushing.
“The effectiveness of a cardio-protective drug such as niacin critically depends upon its tolerability, since patients experiencing side effects often discontinue therapy prior to experiencing the drug’s long-term benefit,” commented Mr. Grau. “I am therefore very excited to join Cortria as TRIA-662 has shown potential to provide the benefits of niacin therapy without the flushing side effect, a significant medical improvement for the millions of patients suffering from atherogenic dyslipidemia.”
“TRIA-662, in my view, is one of the most promising anti-atherogenic agents in clinical development today. With the benefits of niacin therapy in dyslipidemia clearly established, and the science behind the TRIA-662 program reflecting important advances in our knowledge and understanding of niacin metabolism, our goal of developing a product with a flush-free niacin-like target profile is exciting,” said Mr. King. “I look forward to continuing to contribute to Cortria and the development of TRIA-662.”
Dr. Brian Halak of Domain Associates and a member of the Cortria Board of Directors added, “We continually review new approaches in the cholesterol field and rarely do we find an opportunity where the assets are so clearly differentiated. We are also very pleased to have Daniel Grau at the helm of this enterprise, which will benefit greatly from his thoughtful and driven leadership, and Richard King as a director, bringing his in-depth knowledge of the niacin and broader dyslipidemia marketplace. We are very enthusiastic about the future of Cortria.”
Prior to joining Cortria, Mr. Grau was Chief Operating Officer at CombinatoRx, Inc., and currently serves on the Concert Pharmaceuticals Product Advisory Board and the Advisory Board of Hygeia Therapeutics. Mr. King is President and Chief Operating Officer at Tercica, Inc., and was previously Executive Vice President of Commercial Operations at Kos Pharmaceuticals, where he was responsible for marketing and sales of Niaspan(R).
Cortria Corporation, backed by Domain Associates and MVM Life Sciences and first financed in late 2006, is focused on the development and commercialization of TRIA-662 as a new drug candidate for the treatment of dyslipidemia. Unique therapeutic properties of TRIA-662 were first discovered and patented by scientists at the Technical University of Lodz and the patents subsequently acquired by Pharmena, a European pharmaceutical company. Cortria and Pharmena own the dominant intellectual property estate covering pharmaceutical compositions as well as monotherapy and combination uses of 1-methylnicotinamide, the active ingredient in TRIA-662. The companies have signed an exclusive cross-license agreement to this intellectual property estate and Cortria is leading the clinical and commercial development of TRIA-662. Pharmena also has minority shareholder interest in Cortria. Cortria Corporation is based in Boston, MA.
Cortria is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing safe and well-tolerated medicines to fight cardiovascular disease.
About Domain Associates
Domain Associates, L.L.C. is a venture capital firm founded in 1985 with an exclusive focus on life sciences. With $2 billion of capital under management, Domain is headquartered in Princeton, NJ with a second office in San Diego, CA. For more information: www.domainvc.com.
About MVM Life Science Partners
MVM Life Science Partners LLP, founded in 1997, is a leading Life Science venture capital firm that manages three funds with over US$500 million under management. MVM invests across the Life Sciences markets in biopharmaceuticals, diagnostics, drug delivery, gene therapy, medical devices, OTC medicines, research tools and vaccines. MVM invests predominantly in start up and early stage companies based across Europe and in the US. The MVM team operates from offices in London and Boston. For more information: www.mvmlifescience.com.
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