Eyeing nicotine replacement market, Qnovia bags $17M to take inhaled delivery device into the clinic

Qnovia has secured the funding to take its lead inhaled drug delivery candidate into the clinic, rounding up $17 million in series A funding to start testing its nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in humans next year.

Los Angeles-based Qnovia wants to “redefine the standard of effective inhaled drug delivery” using a device that is designed to address the limitations of existing systems. The NRT candidate, RespiRx, uses a breath-activated, hand-held vibrating mesh nebulizer to generate an aerosol for inhalation. Qnovia claims the device delivers precise doses and enables optimal delivery to the lungs. 

Blue Ledge Capital sees promise in the device. The VC fund led the $17 million series A round, joining with DG Ventures, Evolution VC Partners, Gaingels, TL Capital and Vice Ventures to provide Qnovia with the money to move into clinical development.

“Once the FDA approves our investigational new drug application, we plan to initiate a phase 1 study for NRT in 2023,” Qnovia CEO Brian Quigley said in a statement. “As we pursue NRT authorization, we aim to identify significant expansion indications to pursue both alone and with partnerships.”

The partnering pitch rests on the potential for the device to address the challenges patients face when operating and maintaining inhaled delivery devices. By simplifying the process with a cartridge-based system, Qnovia thinks it can increase compliance and reduce potential misuse. The device has a digital metered dose interface and a Bluetooth-enabled mobile app.

Qnovia dropped news of the series A shortly after changing its name from Respira Technologies to its current, more distinctive moniker. The name change was intended to avoid confusion with multiple other companies called Respira.