Salt Lake City, UT – August 25, 2020 – DiscGenics, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing regenerative cell-based therapies that alleviate pain and restore function in patients with degenerative diseases of the spine, today announced it has raised $50 million in a Series C funding round led by Ci:z Investment LLP with participation from new investors, Eagle Fund SP1 LLP, Medical Incubator Japan (MIJ), and CareNet of Japan. Major follow-on investments from Mitsubishi UFJ Capital Co. Ltd, the Company’s Board of Directors, and existing long-term investors contributed to the oversubscription of the round. This latest round of funding brings investment in the Company to just over $71 million to-date.
DiscGenics will use the new capital to support ongoing clinical trials of its injectable Discogenic Cell Therapy (IDCT) for lumbar degenerative disc disease (DDD), to fund future commercialization activities in the U.S. and Japan, and for the scale up and scale out of its allogeneic cell manufacturing facility in Salt Lake City, UT.
“We are extremely pleased and humbled by the interest and support we have received in this round of funding,” said Flagg Flanagan, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors for DiscGenics. “I would like to sincerely thank the team at DiscGenics for their tremendous efficiency over the past several years in the use of our resources and capital to achieve clinical capacity on two continents while building out our manufacturing facility in preparation for anticipated commercial demand of our product.”
Concurrent with this investment, DiscGenics has added two new members to its Board of Directors.
Colin Lee Novick is a cofounder and managing director of one of Japan’s leading regenerative medicine consulting firms, CJ PARTNERS, and was selected by Dr. Yoshinori Shirono, founder of Ci:z Investment LLP, the lead Series C investor, to represent his interests on the DiscGenics Board. Mr. Novick stated: “DDD represents a significant unmet medical need worldwide and is an increasingly prevalent chronic disease among Japan’s rapidly aging population. DiscGenics has developed an innovative biologic approach to treating this condition that both meshes well with the Japanese regulatory focus on regenerative medicines and could very much revolutionize the way chronic low back pain is treated. I am honored to be joining the DiscGenics board to support their clinical and commercial endeavors.”
Najeeb Thomas, M.D. is an internationally recognized neurosurgeon who practices at Southern Brain and Spine in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he focuses on treatment of degenerative diseases of the spine. Dr. Thomas stated: “I have been an investor and supporter of DiscGenics for several years and believe that IDCT represents a truly game changing opportunity for the treatment of patients with DDD. If IDCT generates similar outcomes in human trials to the preclinical studies, which included reduced inflammation of the intervertebral disc and restoration of disc height, I believe the end result could be reduced pain and disability, which subsequently translates to decreased pain medication usage and ultimately to fewer surgical interventions.”
DiscGenics is conducting two concurrent regulator-allowed, prospective, randomized, double-blinded, controlled, multicenter clinical trials in the U.S. and Japan to evaluate the safety and efficacy of IDCT in subjects with symptomatic, single-level, mild to moderate lumbar DDD. In the U.S., all 60 subjects have been treated and no safety issues have been reported. In Japan, IDCT passed the initial planned safety review and trial enrollment is ongoing.
About Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a chronic condition that is characterized by inflammation and breakdown of extracellular matrix within the intervertebral disc. DDD often results in chronic low back pain, which is a leading cause of disability worldwide (1) and is the most common non-cancer reason for opioid prescription in the U.S. (2). Each year, 266 million individuals (3.63%) worldwide are diagnosed with lumbar DDD (3). The condition affects more than 24 million individuals in the U.S. and Canada (3), and is estimated to cost the U.S. healthcare system over $100 billion each year (1), creating a significant burden on the economy and individual patients. In Japan, epidemiological studies have indicated that there could be more than 30 million patients suffering from spinal disorders in the country, (4) with approximately 160,000 patients needing lumbar spine surgical intervention each year (5).
DiscGenics is a privately held, clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing regenerative cell-based therapies that alleviate pain and restore function in patients with degenerative diseases of the spine. As the only company in the world to develop an allogeneic cell therapy derived from intervertebral disc cells to treat diseases of the disc, DiscGenics believes it has a unique opportunity to harness the restorative potential of the human body to heal millions of patients suffering from the debilitating effects of back pain. DiscGenics’ first product candidate, IDCT, is a homologous, allogeneic, injectable cell therapy that utilizes biomedically engineered progenitor cells derived from intervertebral disc tissue, known as Discogenic Cells, to offer a non-surgical, potentially regenerative solution for the treatment of patients with mild to moderate degenerative disc disease. For more information, visit discgenics.com.
1. Hoy, D., March, L., Brooks, P., et al. The global burden of low back pain: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study. Ann Rheum Dis. 2014;73(6):968-974.
2. Ringwalt, C., Gugelmann, H., Garrettson, M., et al. Differential prescribing of opioid analgesics according to physician specialty for Medicaid patients with chronic noncancer pain diagnoses. Pain Res Manag. 2014;19(4):179-185.
3. Ravindra, V.M., Senglaub, S.S., Rattani, A., et al. Degenerative lumbar spine disease: Estimating global incidence and worldwide volume. Global Spine J. 2018;8(8):784-794.
4. Yoshimura N, Muraki S, Oka H, et al. Prevalence of knee osteoarthritis, lumbar spondylosis, and osteoporosis in Japanese men and women: the research on osteoarthritis/osteoporosis against disability study. J Bone Miner Metab. 2009;27(5):620-628.
5. Yano Research Institute. Medical Bionics (Artificial Organs) Market 2019 report. March 2020. https://www.yano.co.jp/market_reports/C61118800.
Colin Lee Novick (Japan)
SOURCE: DiscGenics, 25th August 2020