Hemab raises $135m in Series B cash to treat genetic bleeding disorders
The oversubscribed round was led by Access Biotechnology, the corporate venture arm of Access Industries in the U.S. Newcomer investors piling into the round included Deep Track Capital, Avoro Ventures, Invus, and more, with returning investors including Novo Holdings, RA Capital Management, and HealthCap.
The new capital will bankroll the completion of an ongoing phase 1/2 trial of Hemab’s lead candidate drug, the bispecific antibody HMB-001, in patients with Glanzmann thrombasthenia. The round will also keep Hemab’s operations funded until 2025, including the launch of a phase 1/2 trial of Hemab’s second candidate, HMB-VWF, for the treatment of von Willebrand disease type 1 and 2.
Addressing neglected bleeding disorders
Hemophilia A and B are bleeding disorders that are common targets for innovative preventative treatments. For example, the European Commission recently approved the first gene therapy for hemophilia B; in addition to a gene therapy for hemophilia A in August 2022.
However, there are numerous blood disorders that lack effective preventative treatments. For example, standard treatments for Glanzmann thrombasthenia, such as antifibrinolytics and infusions of a clotting protein called Factor VIIa (FVIIa), are designed to treat bleeding rather than stop it from happening.
To bridge the prophylactic gap, Hemab’s bispecific antibody HMB-001 binds to and stabilizes the patients’ FVIIa proteins to make the blood better at clotting. At the same time, the antibody binds to activated platelets so that the FVIIa only clots where the platelets are already active, and not in healthy locations in the body. Initial data from HMB-001’s phase 1/2 trial are expected in late 2023, and the drug has the potential to be used in other rare bleeding disorders.
Hemab’s second target condition, von Willebrand disease, is one of the most common bleeding disorders, but its treatment has lacked innovation for decades, potentially due to it being seen as less severe than other bleeding disorders.
"Hemab is fundamentally reimagining the treatment paradigm for underserved bleeding and thrombotic disorders. This financing will allow us to progress our clinical programs for the first prophylactic treatments for Glanzmann thrombasthenia and von Willebrand disease, delivering functional cures for patients in need," said Benny Sorensen, CEO and president of Hemab.
"We're grateful for this robust syndicate of investors who support our approach of leveraging validated advanced technologies and deep insights into the biology of clotting to overcome decades of scientific stagnation."
Overall, Hemab aims to have 5 clinical programs in development by 2025, with other disorders in its crosshairs including factor VII deficiency, Bernard Soulier syndrome, hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia and congenital antithrombin III deficiency.
There are relatively few other programs targeting the same indications as those in Hemab’s pipeline. One of the most prominent is a clinical trial deploying Roche’s approved hemophilia A antibody treatment emicizumab (Hemlibra) for the prophylactic treatment of severe von Willebrand disease. The trial began in November 2022 and is sponsored by the Bleeding and Clotting Disorders Institute in Illinois, U.S.