March 24, 2021
Courage Therapeutics Raises $1M For Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa and Other Related Eating Disorders
Newton, MA and Ann Arbor Michigan --Courage Therapeutics, a biotech focused on eating disorders, announced today that it closed a private financing with aggregate proceeds in excess of over $1M. The company was founded in 2019 to develop therapeutics based upon research on the melanocortin receptor system in the laboratory of Dr. Roger Cone at the University of Michigan. The funds complement a Fall 2020 NIH Phase 1 STTR grant from NIDDK for the identification of drug candidates targeting the MC3R receptor with antagonist activity that would be potentially useful as obesity treatments.
Dan Housman, CEO of Courage commented, “I have a deep personal connection with anorexia nervosa through caring for affected family members. A better pharmacological treatment can’t come too soon which is why we started Courage. Dr. Cone’s lab has demonstrated the utility of MC3R as a target in recent breakthrough publications. We have worked for the past year to design multiple compounds with drug-like MC3R activity sufficient to merit transitioning our efforts to focus on animal studies. The proceeds from this financing allow the company to move our candidate compounds into multiple animal models to measure the effect in feeding behaviors, anorexia, anxiety, and metabolism. ”
Currently, the venture has identified potential drug leads and is at the pre-clinical phase of development. The venture was initially self-funded by the founders and recently added additional outside angel investors and the University of Michigan’s Biomedical Venture Fund (MBVF) as a lead investor in the $1M seed round. The round also included reinvestment by its founders, biotech industry veterans, and members of the MIT Alumni Angels.
“We are excited by the potential of this technology to have an impact across multiple indications. While it’s still early, we are willing to take an early bet as the science is impeccable and believe that the founding team can execute to bring this all to fruition”, said MBVF Fund Manager Dr. Hirak Parikh.
Courage aims to get a new drug into clinical trials within three years. If successful with the MC3R agonist program a treatment for restrictive eating disorders would represent the first FDA approved drug specifically designed for the treatment of anorexia nervosa. Courage’s obesity program is focused on genetic forms of obesity such as MC4R haploinsufficiency, where there are no currently available FDA approved drugs.
Courage Therapeutics is a pre-clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on treating eating disorders. The company is led by an experienced team of scientists and pharmaceutical industry experts focusing on developing scientific discoveries regarding the brain’s response to energy signals from the body. The company has a licensing agreement with the University of Michigan to build real treatments based on the University’s MC3R intellectual property portfolio. Led by Dr. Tomi Sawyer the Courage medicinal chemistry team is patenting multiple compounds with highly selective and potent MC3R activity.
Michigan Biomedical Venture Fund
The Michigan Biomedical Venture Fund provides early-stage capital to nascent University of Michigan startup companies in the biomedical and life science space to make them more successful at commercializing their research in the most impactful way possible. Their mission is to serve as a catalyst for U-M startup companies as they bring innovations to the clinic in the biomedical and life science space by adding capital and creating value while achieving returns. The fund is an evergreen fund that is supported by philanthropic donations and the university and has made 12 investments since being established in 2016.