Flush with $22M, newly merged 9 Meters Biopharma launches in Raleigh with focus on GI diseases

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RALEIGH — Introducing 9 Meters Biopharma, the new company birthed from the merger of Raleigh-based Innovate Biopharmaceuticals, a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on developing novel therapeutics for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases and Israeli-based RDD Pharma, a startup focused on orphan and innovative therapies for gastrointestinal disorders.

On Friday, the company announced the completion of its merger — along with roughly $22 million in new financing led by Orbimed Advisors, LLC, and the signing of the previously announced merger with Naia Rare Diseases, a company developing a proprietary long acting GLP-1 for the treatment of Short Bowel Syndrome.

Named after the approximate length of the digestive track, 9 Meters will focus on specialty, rare and orphan gastrointestinal diseases and be headquartered in Raleigh. It will have two late-stage lead assets funded to their next key inflection points, which include the initiation of a Phase 2 trial in short bowel syndrome in 2H 2020 with top-line results expected in 2021, and the receipt of top-line results for an ongoing Phase 3 trial in celiac disease in 2021.

It will continue trading on NASDAQ with the ticker symbol NMTR, effective May 4, 2020.

“9 Meters Biopharma plans to deliver meaningful science and treatments for patients and providers which will translate into multiple inflection points for investors. This includes a novel approach with the first and only long-acting GLP-1 receptor agonist for the treatment of short bowel syndrome, and the first-ever drug in a Phase 3 trial for celiac disease,” said John Temperato, president and chief executive officer of 9 Meters, in a statement.

Temperato was one of the key players in the buildout of Salix Pharmaceuticals for more than a decade, which culminated in Salix’s acquisition for around $16 billion in 2015.

The executive team also includes Edward J. Sitar, chief financial officer; Patrick Griffin, M.D. FACP, chief medical officer; Nir Barak M.D., senior vice president of Clinical Affairs; and Sireesh Appajosyula, PharmD, senior vice president of Corporate Development and Operations. The Company will be headquartered in Raleigh, NC.

Its board of directors include: Mark Sirgo, PharmD former CEO of BioDelivery Sciences and board member of Salix Pharmaceuticals, as board chairman; Nissim Darvish, M.D., Ph.D., senior managing director of OrbiMed Advisors; Lorin Johnson, Ph.D., founder of Salix Pharmaceuticals; and Sandeep Laumas, M.D., former Chairman of Innovate.

Original Article Source: WRAL TechWire