Graphic taken from company website.
Graphic taken from company website.

Civitas Therapeutics Inc., a Chelsea-based biopharmaceutical company, announced the completion of a $38 million Series B financing.

Civitas plans to use the proceeds for the late stage clinical development of its lead drug program, CVT-301, an inhaled formulation of levodopa (L-dopa) being developed for the rapid and reliable relief from debilitating motor fluctuations associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Bay City Capital led the round and was joined by new investors RA Capital and another undisclosed public investment fund, along with participation from all existing investors including Alkermes plc, Canaan Partners, Fountain Healthcare Partners, and Longitude Capital, Civitas said in a press release.

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L-dopa is widely recognized as the most efficacious treatment for Parkinson’s disease symptoms. But the reliability of L-dopa formulations taken orally is significantly compromised by delayed and unpredictable absorption. According to Civitas, the inhaled formulation of levodopa it is working on has the potential to far more effective in managing chronic symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

“As we surveyed the Parkinson’s disease landscape, we found CVT-301 to be a particularly compelling opportunity that uniquely addresses a significant unmet need,” Rajeev Shah, a partner at RA Capital, said in a statement. “CVT-301 represents a rare combination of a large commercial opportunity for a severe disease coupled with a highly de-risked, capital efficient development path.”

Civitas has high hopes for its ARCUS platform, which it describes as a proprietary dry powder and device combination with the ability to deliver a large, precise dose independent of inspiratory flow rate from a simple, breath actuated device. The platform is protected by a large intellectual property estate including over 130 issued patents.

In addition to its work on Parkinson’s disease, Civitas said it plans to explore additional opportunities to leverage the ARCUS delivery platform for the treatment of other diseases.