Indianapolis-based Kovina Therapeutics says it recently closed on a $2 million seed round of financing led by Indy-based Elevate Ventures. The pre-clinical biotechnology company aims to discover a non-surgical, medical treatment for Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infections and cancers.
Elevate Ventures says it was joined by investors from BioCrossroads, IU Ventures, and other un-named individual members from the Indiana life science community.
Co-founders Dr. Elliot Androphy, Dr. Zhijian Lu and Dr. Samy Meroueh have been successful in producing novel compounds that selectively target and kill HPV infected cells.
“While the HPV vaccine effectively prevents new infections, it does not treat existing infections that can progress to malignancy,” said Androphy. “An estimated 630,000 women and men worldwide are diagnosed with HPV induced cancers annually and millions more are at risk for progression of existing HPV infections.”
Kovina has licensed the intellectual property from Indiana University.
The company says it will use the seed funding to complete the necessary pre-clinical testing, eventually advancing to human trials. HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the world and causes nearly all cervical cancers.