Catabasis Pharmaceuticals Pockets $7.7M out of $40M Venture Round

Xconomy Boston — 

Catabasis Pharmaceuticals has just raised a load of cash. The Cambridge, MA-based biotech company has raked in an initial $7.7 million in equity financing out of a venture round that could be worth as much as $39.7 million, according to a regulatory filing.

The company, which lists an address at 161 First Street in Cambridge, is led by president Jill Milne, according to the filing. Catabasis’s company website doesn’t say much at the moment, although Milne, a former senior director at Sirtris Pharmaceuticals and a director at Pfizer, says on her LinkedIn profile that she founded Catabasis in July 2008.

The startup, which disclosed that it had obtained $2 million in debt financing in January, now has some big hitters on its board of directors. The group includes Maggie LeFlore of MedImmune Ventures; Jeff Leiden of Clarus Ventures; and Michael Ross of SV Life Sciences. Michael Jirousek, another Sirtris veteran, is the chief scientific officer at Catabasis, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The company hasn’t issued a press release, and I left a message for Milne this morning at the office. I’ll update this space if I hear back from her. But the Catabasis company website offers a very basic description of what the company is about. It is developing drugs for inflammatory and metabolic diseases, with the idea of returning the body toward its natural state of balance, known as homeostasis. The compounds are being designed to focus on lipid mediators, specifically by taking advantage of the ability of protective effects of omega-3 fatty acids against heart disease.

“Additionally, there is a growing body of clinical and preclinical evidence that [omega-3 fatty acids] have therapeutic potential for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, age-related macular degeneration, and cancer,” the company says on its website.

Catabasis is seeking to use what it calls “SMART-linker” technology that improves the delivery, potency, and effectiveness of two specific omega-3 fatty acids.