Acasti Pharma, a pharmaceutical company based in Canada, received $750,000 in non-dilutive and non-repayable funding from the Canadian government to help develop drug candidate, CaPre. The news of the funding was announced on Monday.
The grant was provided by the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) in order to contribute towards the research and development of Acasti’s unique commercial production platform for CaPre.
“We appreciate the strong support from NRC IRAP since 2015 and we are honored to embark on a new research and development project with them. As we progress toward reporting our TRILOGY topline results, which we anticipate later this year, ramping up our commercial production capabilities is an important next step,” said Dr. Pierre Lemieux, Acasti’s co-founder, chief operating and scientific officer.
CaPre (omega-3 phospholipid) is a prescription drug candidate derived from krill oil containing polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). The drug is under development to treat severe hypertriglyceridemia (HTG) which is a metabolic condition that contributes to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease and pancreatitis.
The omega-3s in the drug are mainly EPA and DHA allowing for better absorption into the body. Acasti said that they believe, “EPA and DHA are more efficiently transported by phospholipids sourced from krill oil than the EPA and DHA contained in fish oil that are transported either by triglycerides (as in dietary supplements) or as ethyl esters in other prescription omega-3 drugs, which must then undergo additional digestion before they are ready for transport in the bloodstream.”
Acasti is looking forward to working with NRC IRAP to further the technical limits of their manufacturing process in anticipation of full commercialization, said Dr. Lemieux.
According to Acasti Pharma, “in two Phase II studies, CaPre achieved a statistically significant reduction of triglycerides and non-HDL cholesterol levels in patients across the dyslipidemia spectrum from patients with mild to moderate hypertriglyceridemia (patients with TG blood levels between 200mg/dl and 500mg/dl) to patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia (those with TG levels above 500mg/dl).”
Phase II also showed the potential to reduce LDL as well as the potential to increase HDL at the therapeutic dose of 4grams/day.
Acasti’s TRILOGY Phase III program is currently underway.