Sparrow Pharmaceuticals confirmed it closed a $50 million financing round, one of the state's largest such rounds of the year. The firm had not formally announced the round when the Business Journal uncovered it when tracking 2021's hefty first quarter of fundraising.
It also revealed it hired Robert Jacks as the company’s new CEO.
Sparrow is developing novel, targeted therapies for disorders caused by excess corticosteroids, which can be produced by the body or administered in medicine for autoimmune or inflammatory disease.
About 2 million patients in the U.S. are on corticosteroids, such as prednisone, which come with serious side effects, including fractures, diabetes, stroke and glaucoma, David Katz, Sparrow’s founder and CEO, has said. The company’s drug candidate could potentially separate the efficacy of steroid medications from those severe side effects, Jacks said.
The company will use the financing to speed the development of its drug candidate, which targets the source of steroids that cause toxicity in key tissues. Sparrow anticipates starting Phase 2 trials in patients with a form of Cushing syndrome in the next 12 months.
OrbiMed led the investment round with participation by RiverVest Venture Partners and U.S. Venture Partners.
Katz lives in Portland and serves as chief scientific officer. Jacks, who lives in Connecticut, comes to Sparrow after 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry, including corporate and business development work for Pfizer.
In 2019, Sparrow won the Oregon Bioscience Association’s Pitch Fest.