Dauntless gets $12M in Series A to develop cancer med using intranasal platform

San Diego's Dauntless Pharmaceuticals last month received $12 million in a Series A funding round upon its launch, in hopes of commercializing a preclinical endocrine cancer drug using patent technology licensed from drug delivery specialist Aegis Therapeutics for an undisclosed amount. Dauntless has the option to use the technology to develop three other drugs.

Aegis' Intravail drug delivery platform enables intranasal delivery of injectable drugs weighing up to 30,000 Daltons, according to its website. Its transmucosal absorption enhancement agents are compatible with standard nasal delivery devices and do not irritate mucosal membranes. The molecules are similar to surfactants that are used in higher concentrations in personal care and food products than the levels found in Aegis formulations, the company says.

The Intravail drug delivery platform is mainly focused on intranasal delivery, but has also been applied to buccal, oral and rectal delivery of small molecule and peptide-based drugs.

Aegis says it has partnered with prominent companies including Roche ($RHHBY) and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories ($RDY), to whom it has licensed its drug delivery platforms. According to the company website, nasally-delivered formulations have outsold their injectable predecessors by 5 to 33-fold.

The sole investor in the Series A round was California's Sofinnova Ventures, which is focused on specialty pharmaceuticals and orphan diseases.

"We intend to leverage established industry relationships, experienced personnel, and our operational capabilities to execute clinical trials efficiently across multiple assets. We invite entrepreneurs and licensors to consider partnering with Dauntless as a way to achieve their drug development objectives. I am very gratified to once again have the support and insight of the Sofinnova team as we build this business," said Dauntless CEO Joel Martin in a statement.

Martin co-founded two previous companies, which were sold to Biotage AB and Life Technologies.

Dauntless intends to manage the development of "multiple clinical assets, using a separate corporation for each." The still-mysterious company says its system of managing holding companies focused on a single asset results in lower costs, and hopefully, faster approvals. It is seeking to add additional companies to its portfolio of assets under development.

- read the release
- here's more about the licensing agreement