Novan receives $50M in support of drug delivery tech to treat acne, HPV

A depiction of the macromolecule used to deliver nitric oxide--Courtesy of Novan Therapeutics

The developer of a novel drug delivery platform for nitric oxide just raised $50 million in a financing round led by Irish life science investment fund Malin.

North Carolina's Novan Therapeutics is developing a Phase II candidate to treat acne, with hopes of using the drug to curb overuse of oral and topical antibiotics.

"Novan has assembled a talented leadership team and generated key clinical proof of concept demonstrating the efficient and effective delivery of nitric oxide, a naturally occurring therapeutic agent with potentially broad application," said G. Kelly Martin, the former CEO of Elan ($ELN), who now serves on Malin's board of directors. "Novan's initial focus on the skin provides clear pathways for regulatory approval, while we as a team look to selectively expand Novan's pipeline of programs in the clinic."

Novan boasts the Nitricil delivery platform. The company says it stores the nitric oxide on large polymers for "timed release" of the gaseous molecule. The macromolecule can be engineered to deliver the quantity of nitric oxide needed for specific applications, Novan says on its website. Both rapid and sustained release are possible using the technology.

The chief advantage of the platform is its ability to store larger amounts of nitric oxide than other delivery systems for the molecule, according to the website. The company also posted a number of studies on its website that support the platform.

Three scientists won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1998 for discovering nitric oxide, which has been shown to have many beneficial health effects.

Novan is also developing a nitric oxide-based candidate for human papillomavirus (HPV) and plans to push it into Phase II next quarter.

Malin formed this month, thanks to a €330 million ($357 million) IPO. Existing investors from North Carolina's Research Triangle also participated in the $50 million round.

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