After withdrawing IPO ambitions last December, Jeff Aronin’s Castle Creek turns to private backers – Endpoints News


Jeff Aronin’s cell and gene therapy biotech Castle Creek Biosciences has raised $112 million in equity, Terminal news has learned.

The Exton, Pa., biotech has secured funding from 54 investors, according to an SEC filing dated May 2. newly created public biotechs, Castle Creek fired those ambitions in the final weeks of 2021.

This time around, the biotech has returned to private backing, and it comes just three months after the company raised nearly $12 million in debt funding. Castle Creek previously raised $25 million in debt financing last year, according to an SEC filing, and $71.8 million from Fidelity Management and Valor Equity Partner in 2018.

Endpoints has reached out to Aronin and a Castle Creek company spokesperson, and will update this story accordingly.

If Castle Creek still follows the same strategic path it did at the time of its S-1 filing, the biotech will likely roll out product from the Phase III trial of its ex-vivo dabocemagene autoficel gene therapy, also dubbed FCX-007 and D-Fi, for patients with chronic wounds due to recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa.

The condition leads to blistering and tearing of the skin due to a lack of collagen protein. It is sometimes called a “butterfly” disease because of the fragility of an infant’s skin. Other biotech companies exploring the rare disease include Phase III Abeona Therapeutics and Eloxx Pharmaceuticals.

The Castle Creek study is still recruiting and is expected to collect final primary outcome data in April 2023, according to the Federal Clinical Trials Database. When Castle Creek acquired the drug from Fibrocell in 2019, the original owner said a marketing application would be sent in 2021.

D-Fi is also expected to enter a late-stage trial in a dominant form of the condition, according to the biotech’s pipeline page on its website.

The other clinical stage of Castle Creek ex-vivo autologous gene therapy, FCX-013, is in a Phase I/II study in patients with moderate to severe localized scleroderma, which results in hardening and tightening of the skin.

The funding comes four months after Castle Creek acquired gene therapy maker Novavita Thera, which is adding preclinical assets targeting rare liver and metabolic diseases to the company’s pipeline. As part of the deal, Novavita co-founder Joseph Lillegard took on the role of chief scientist.

Last year, when considering Wall Street entry, Castle Creek ended a six-year licensing agreement with TWI Biotechnology last June for the development of CCP-020, a compound known as diacerein name.

Aronin is chairman of Castle Creek originator, the investment engine Paragon Biosciences, behind Harmony Biosciences and Evozyne. He is also founder and chairman of Chicago health technology incubator MATTER and was previously CEO of Marathon Pharmaceuticals.


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