Rivus Pharmaceuticals raises $132M for cardio-metabolic disorders


Rivus Pharmaceuticals Inc. has closed a $132 million Series B funding round.

It was led by RA Capital Management with participation from Bain Capital Life Sciences, BB Biotech AG and existing investors Longitude Capital, Medicxi and RxCapital.

The funding will further support the clinical advancement of lead candidate HU6, a first-in-class controlled metabolic accelerator (CMA) designed to treat cardiovascular disease by addressing obesity, a major cause of disease.

“We have an exceptional group of investors who share our vision of bringing a new class of treatments to patients suffering from obesity and cardiometabolic diseases,” said Allen Cunningham, President and CEO of Rivus Pharmaceuticals.

“Following encouraging data from our Phase 2a clinical trial in patients with obesity, this funding allows us to advance the development of HU6 and a pipeline of controlled metabolic accelerators to treat a range of cardiometabolic diseases.”

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CMA’s

Almost half of American adults live with cardiovascular disease, conditions that affect a person’s health and quality of life. Obesity is a common cause of cardiometabolic disease, but weight loss through lifestyle changes remains a challenge for many patients.

Rivus CMAs are designed to safely utilize mitochondrial uncoupling, a natural process that regulates and dissipates energy, to selectively reduce fat throughout the body.

While numerous approaches are being explored to reduce energy intake in obesity, CMAs are unique in their focus on increasing energy expenditure, thereby avoiding the loss of skeletal muscle mass seen with other therapeutics.

Published Data

Earlier this year, Rivus released data from a phase 2a metabolism study evaluating lead candidate HU6 in overweight participants. The study provided a proof-of-concept validation that CMAs have the potential to treat not only obesity but a range of cardiometabolic diseases, including heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD )/non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

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During the eight-week study, the company discovered that HU6 demonstrated significant reductions in liver, visceral and total body fat while maintaining skeletal muscle mass, all without changes in diet or exercise. Weight loss was enhanced in patients with elevated HbA1c.

Reductions in liver fat ranged from 30% to 40% across doses and will be further quantified in a longer-term phase 2b obesity study.

Patients treated with HU6 saw improvement in key cardiovascular and metabolic health indicators, including glycemic control, glycated albumin and HbA1c, reduction in blood pressure and markers of inflammation.

Phase 1 and 2a metabolic data showed that HU6 was well tolerated across all doses and no serious adverse events (SAEs) or deaths were reported.

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Rivus recently initiated a phase 2a study in obese participants with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) and plans to start a phase 2b study in obesity, including a subset of obese participants with type 2 diabetes in 2023.

About HU6 and CMAs

HU6 is a CMA that offers a novel, measured approach to activating mitochondrial uncoupling, a natural process in the body by which the body generates heat. By transporting protons from the mitochondrial intermembrane space, CMAs induce increased oxidation of sugars and fats while maintaining the same baseline production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Activating this process leads to the reduction of accumulated fat and sugar throughout the body.



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