Civitas corrals $38M for inhaled Parkinson's treatment

Civitas CEO Glenn Batchelder

Civitas Therapeutics picked up $38 million in second-round financing to finish a Phase IIb trial and begin Phase III for its ARCUS respiratory delivery platform to treat Parkinson's disease.

The ARCUS platform, with Civitas' CVT-301, incorporates dry powder and a dose-controlled, self-administered inhaler to deliver the tried-and-true Parkinson's drug levodopa, or L-dopa, to the lungs. The drug is quickly picked up by the bloodstream and crosses the blood-brain barrier to break down and replace dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls motor function. Parkinson's affects a person's ability to produce dopamine, which leads to characteristic physical symptoms.

Bay City Capital led the round for Civitas, which welcomed new investors RA Capital and another undisclosed investment fund, as well as Alkermes ($ALKS), Canaan Partners, Fountain Healthcare Partners and Longitude Capital.

"The strength and diversity of this investor group provides a robust foundation for achieving our vision of developing proprietary ARCUS-based therapeutics to improve outcomes for patients," Civitas CEO and co-founder Glenn Batchelder said in a statement. "We are pleased that our new investors recognized the significant value that has been created since our initial financing, and we are excited to have their input and support as we further develop our lead program along with the broader pipeline."

Batchelder told FierceDrugDelivery in April after receiving positive Phase IIa results that "L-dopa is challenging for a number of reasons, but with the inhaled dose, we can have a very measured response. It's ideal as an adjunct therapy."

Civitas spun out of Alkermes, licensing the ARCUS tech from MIT professor Robert Langer's lab and gaining support from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for its work on Parkinson's.

- here's the release
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