29 Jun Canadian firm buys Proventiv Therapeutics, makes ex-Bone Care exec CEO
Madison, Wis. – In a merging of complementary companies, Cytochroma, Inc., a Canadian firm seeking to commercialize new Vitamin D products, has acquired Proventiv Therapeutics, LLC, of Madison, and the combined company is looking for an additional $25 million in venture capital from Canadian and American investors.
Proventiv was founded in Sept. 2005 by former employees of Bone Care International, which was acquired last year by Genzyme Corp., the Boston-based life science company. One of those former Bone Care employees, former CEO and then CSO Charles W. Bishop, is the new president and CEO of Cytochroma, replacing outgoing chief executive James M. Rae.
The acquisition of Proventiv establishes an American base of operations for Cytochroma, and expands its vitamin D product portfolio. It also positions the company to pursue opportunities in the chronic kidney disease (CKD) market, including psoriasis, cancer, vitamin D deficiency, and related disorders.
The combined business will have 30 employees and multiple lead candidates in clinical development for psoriasis, and it is entering clinical development for vitamin D deficiency and secondary hyperparathyroidism in patients with moderate-to-severe CKD. Proventiv did not yet have a commercial product like Hecterol, which was Bone Care’s core product, but it was developing a number of Vitamin D therapies.
“It made sense to bring the two companies together,” said Eric Messner, another former Bone Care employee who will serve as vice president of commercial operations for Cytochroma.
Putting their heads together
Cytochroma, which is based in Markham, Ontario, now is run by an executive team with experience in vitamin D product commercialization in North America. In addition to Bishop and Messner, the executive team includes former Bone Care employee Keith H. Crawford, who will be vice president of strategic planning for Cytochroma.
Jay A. White, the new vice president of product development, is the former vice president of operations at Cytochroma.
Continuing in their present roles will be Martin Petkovich, chief scientific officer, and Jukka K. Karjalainen, vice president of clinical affairs.
Rae, Cytochroma’s out-going CEO, said the acquisition will ensure Cytochroma’s value at the international level.
That belief will be tested this year as the company pursues additional venture capital among its 10 existing Canadian investment groups and new American investors. Thus far, Cytochroma has raised $39 million in private capital from its Canadian sources, and already has commitments from them as part of its attempt to raise an additional $25 million by this fall.
“We will maintain and build a presence in Madison,” Messner stated, “and when products are approved for a variety of indications, we want to sell them in the U.S.”
According to the National Kidney Foundation, more than nine million North American patients suffer from moderate to severe CKD. Many develop vitamin D deficiency and a condition known as secondary hyperparathyroidism. If untreated, secondary hyperparathyroidism can cause debilitating bone diseases and increased patient morbidity and mortality.
At the moment, clinicians are unable to fully meet the NKF’s guidelines for treating and preventing vitamin D deficiency and secondary hyperparathyroidism in CKD patients, but Dr. Geoffrey A. Block, director of research for Denver Nephrology PC, sees value in the merger.
“Cytochroma’s newly expanded product portfolio, when commercialized, will provide clinicians with additional therapeutic tools to attain the NKF’s goals,” Block said in a statement.
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