Despite the fact that heart failure is as common and deadly as cancer, there have been no new treatments introduced since the 1990s. Typical drugs include diuretics, ACE inhibitors, ARB, and beta-blockers, most of which are generic. As a result of the work of Dr. Bruce Liang of the UConn Health Center, in collaboration with the NIH, the small molecule MRS2339 was discovered to be a stable purinergic P2X class agonist that has showed outstanding cardio-protective effects in a variety of animal models of heart failure.
Cornovus Pharmaceuticals was formed under the umbrella of UConn Ventures. With funding from the UConn Prototype Fund, the company was able to complete key preclinical efficacy studies. Funding from the Connecticut Innovations Pre-Seed Fund allowed Cornovus to test MRS2339 in a range of safety tests, to de-risk the compound for further fund raising. An angel investor has kicked off this Series A round and the company has now started preparations to meet with the FDA to discuss its plans to file an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to support the initiation of Phase 1 clinical testing.
Join us at this Clubhouse to hear about the unique story of Cornovus Pharmaceuticals.
Julie A. Olson, Ph. D., Cornovus’ CEO, is trained in biology and spent nearly 20 years with Pfizer at its R&D facility in Groton, CT. While there, she held positions in research and business development. After leaving Pfizer as VP of Licensing, she became CEO of Mersana Therapeutics, a cancer start-up in Cambridge, MA, where she raised over $30M in venture financing, led a research program in anti-angiogenesis, and took two compounds into Phase 1 studies in cancer patients. In addition to her role at Cornovus, Julie is a managing director at SECT Tech, part of the statewide CTNext program.
James Heym, Ph.D., Senior Director, Life Sciences Ventures joined UConn Ventures in February 2009. He has over 30 years of experience in pharmaceutical R&D and has been involved with the successful discovery and development of several new therapeutics. Over his career Dr. Heym has raised funds for biotech start-ups, guided delivery of project goals, planned portfolio strategies, managed large organizations and fostered the development of key leadership talent. He retired in 2007 from his role as Vice President of Discovery at Pfizer’s Laboratories in Groton, CT.
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