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Arix Bioscience invests US$15mln in sickle cell treatment developer Imara

The health and life science investor said the sum would give it a 10% stake in the company and expand the breadth of its portfolio
Sickle blood cells
Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited that cause red blood cells to be sickle-shaped meaning they do not survive as long as healthy cells

Arix Bioscience PLC (LON:ARIX) said it has invested US$15mln (£11.3mln) in Imara, a company developing treatments for sickle cell disease.

The health and life science investor said the sum would give it a 10% stake in the company and expand the breadth of its portfolio.

READ: Arix Bioscience appoints Joe Anderson CEO in boardroom reshuffle

Based in Massachusetts, Imara is developing a treatment designed to inhibit the underlying causes of sickle cell disease, a group of inherited conditions that cause red blood cells to be sickle-shaped meaning they do not survive as long as healthy cells and can become stuck in blood vessels.

This can lead to symptoms such as anaemia when blood cells can’t carry enough oxygen around the body, as well as an increased risk of serious infections and painful episodes called sickle cell crises which can last up to a week.

The treatment, known as IMR-687, has already successfully completed a phase 1 study in healthy volunteers and is currently in a global phase 2a study using adult sickle cell patients.

Joe Anderson, chief executive of Arix, said it would be working with Imara and its co-investors to help “accelerate the development” of the company.

“Sickle cell disease affects a large and growing population across the world and is devastating for both patients and families. Imara is led by an exceptional team developing a novel, compelling approach to treating this difficult disease.”

In early trading Monday, Arix shares were down 1.7% at 145p.

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