Ritter Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Century City biotechnology company that develops therapies for gastrointestinal diseases, raised $6 million in a private placement from investors, according to a securities filing posted Nov. 9.

The 14-year-old publicly traded company raised the funds from 11 investors in order to fund a phase 3 clinical trial of its RP-G28 lactose intolerance drug, the company said.

If Ritter can adapt the gut microbiome to help digest the lactose that reaches the large intestine, it would become the first treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for lactose intolerance, a condition that affects millions worldwide.

“Raising $6 million from a high-quality group of new and existing investors, including institutional investors, a key vendor and a member of our board of directors, sends a clear vote of confidence in our company,” said Andrew J. Ritter, its chief executive, in a statement.

The Ritter securities filing corresponded with a Nov. 9 announcement of its 2018 third quarter financial results for the three months ended Sept. 30.

The company had a third quarter loss of $4.6 million (or $0.86 per share), compared to $2 million ($0.14 per share) during the same period in 2017. The net loss for the nine months ended Sept. 30 was $10.2 million ($2.00 per share), compared to $5.6 million ($0.42 per share), during the same period last year.

Data from the so-called Liberatus phase 3 trial for RP-G28, a microbiome modulator designed to stimulate the growth of lactose-metabolizing bacteria in the colon, is expected in the second half of 2019.

A second phase 3 trial is expected to follow its completion, Ritter said.

Co-founded by Ira E. Ritter and Andrew J. Ritter in 2004, the company has seven employees. Shares in RTTR fell 6 percent to $0.92 by the close of trading Friday, with a market cap of $5 million.

Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at dbartholomew@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.

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