San Diego, CA, August 5, 2021 – Aardvark Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing novel small molecule therapeutics to activate innate homeostatic pathways for the treatment of metabolic diseases, inflammation, and other indications today announced the successful completion of a $29 million Series B financing. The financing was led by Sorrento Therapeutics with participation from existing investors including Vickers Venture Partners, Premier Partners, BNH Investment, and Korea Omega. The Foundation for Prader-Willi Research also participated as an investor in the Series B.
According to Aardvark, the funds raised will be deployed to (1) complete three Phase 2 clinical trials of the company’s lead compound, ARD-101, a potent first-in-class small molecule TAS2R (bitter taste receptor) pan-agonist; and (2) to advance several potential additional formulations for major indications. ARD-101 demonstrated safety in Phase 1 human trials. Further, ARD-101 has been shown to convey beneficial effects in animal models of obesity as well as hyperphagia, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and inflammation.
Commenting on the developments, Aardvark Therapeutics CEO, Tien Lee, M.D., said “We believe our lead compound, ARD-101, is differentiated from existing standard-of-care drugs in both its anticipated safety profile as well as its potential broad spectrum of effects. It is a first-in-class compound that impacts metabolic and inflammatory mediators. We are delighted that our existing investors are confident with our progress as well as the interest of new investors, in maximizing the potential of this unique therapeutic composition.”
John Walter, CEO of the Foundation for Prader Willi Research (FPWR), added, “The Foundation for Prader Willi Research is excited to partner with Aardvark to launch their Phase 2 trial in Prader Willi Syndrome (PWS) later this year. Given the spectrum nature of PWS there is recognition that we will need multiple therapies to address the hallmark symptoms of the disorder. Aardvark’s ARD-101 targets multiple pathways potentially relevant to PWS and has the potential of improving the lives of those suffering from PWS and those who care for them.”
Aardvark’s lead product, ARD-101, is a first-in-class oral composition that has shown promising activity in reducing appetite and promoting weight loss in pre-clinical studies. Phase 1 studies demonstrated safety and tolerability in healthy human volunteers; Phase 2 studies, starting later this summer, will measure the drug’s efficacy and safety. ARD-101 is substantially gut restricted with minimal systemic exposure yet conveys systemic effects via activation of gut peptide hormone secretion.
About Aardvark Therapeutics, Inc.
Aardvark Therapeutics is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing novel small molecule therapeutics to activate innate homeostatic pathways for the treatment of metabolic diseases, inflammation, and other indications. Founded in 2017, the company has now advanced ARD-101 to Phase 2. Aardvark has multiple other programs in its pipeline and has already partnered one to Sorrento Therapeutics, the lead investor in the Series B round.
For more information visit www.aardvarktherapeutics.com.
About Sorrento Therapeutics
Sorrento is a clinical stage, antibody-centric, biopharmaceutical company developing new therapies to treat cancers, non-opioid pain treatments and COVID-19.
For more information visit www.sorrentotherapeutics.com.
About Foundation for Prader-Willi Research
The Foundation was established in 2003 by a small group of parents who saw the need to foster research that would help their children with Prader-Willi syndrome lead healthier and fulfilling lives. Prader-Willi Syndrome is a genetic disorder seen in 1 of 15,000 births that results in profound insatiable hunger leading to severe obesity, diabetes and behavioral problems. With the support of the PWS community, the FPWR has played an instrumental role in advancing the field of PWS research by supporting innovative research, encouraging collaboration, engaging pharmaceutical companies, and enabling a research-ready community.
For more information, visit www.fpwr.org.