citybiz+ Amplexd Raises $2 Million Ahead of Trials for Cervical Dysplasia Therapies

Amplexd Therapeutics, which develops topical treatments for a form of cervical dysplasia, has raised $2 million from an “Asia-based life sciences-focused family office,” ahead of planned clinical trials.

The Gaithersburg, Md., startup is developing ways to treat cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, or CIN, caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The condition, detected by a pap test, is most often caused by HPV. In most cases, the condition shows no symptoms and could go away, but can lead to cervical cancer in some women.

Non-invasive Treatments

“The funding marks a major milestone in our R&D efforts for our two therapies after extremely promising preclinical studies were completed,” said Amplexd co-founder and CEO Alia Rahman, a Canadian-born entrepreneur who endured CIN.

Amplexd’s therapies include a topical, non-invasive option for low-grade CIN, and photodynamic system to target select cells in high-grade CIN. The capital will help the company finalize development and investigational new drug, or IND, submissions ahead of planned human trials later this year, Rahman said.

Rahman previously co-founded and ran Elizion Tech, and has served as an adviser to startups. She received an honors degree in in Environmental Engineering from the University of Waterloo.

Amplexd’s co-founder, Dr. Reid von Borstel, is a veteran pharmacologist, physiologist, and head of drug discovery at an emerging biotech company, Van Borstel received an undergrad degree in chemistry and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from MIT. He is credited with inventing two FDA-approved drugs and three FDA-cleared medical devices.

After enduring high-grade CIN for 13 years, Rahman underwent surgery and resolved to find a better solution. Amplexd’s non-invasive topical therapy — an intravaginal suppository —uses epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a polyphenol derived from green tea. The treatment for high-grade CIN is a photodynamic system that selectively targets neoplastic cells.

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Psychological Burden
“I envisioned the advent of an alternative to ‘watching and waiting’ and surgery for this incredibly common condition, having myself experienced the psychological burden of chronic CIN, the trauma of the surgery itself, and the revolving door of doctors’ appointments,” she said.

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“Our non-invasive treatments have the potential to be a game-changer both in terms of access and comfort, as they wouldn’t require surgery or physicians to implement, and are designed to minimize discomfort. My hope is that once approved, others can have an experience better than my own, without compromising quality of care,” Rahman added.

Globally, over 178 million women are diagnosed with CIN annually, according to the World Health Organization. About 5% of cervical screenings in the United States and Europe reveal CIN, while the rates are significantly higher in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Cervical cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths among women.