Healthcare Industry News: sanofi-aventis
News Release - March 6, 2006
Nereus Pharmaceuticals Closes Second Tranche of $42.6 Million FinancingSAN DIEGO, March 6 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Nereus Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a pioneer in drug discovery and development from marine microbial sources, today announced it received $18.3 million in the second tranche of a private placement of its Series D preferred stock. The first tranche that closed in December 2004 amounted to $24.3 million. The recent financing was triggered by Nereus' successful completion of certain milestones in its drug development programs, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's clearance of Nereus' two Investigational New Drug (IND) applications for its oncology drug candidates, NPI-2358 and NPI-0052.
The lead investors were HBM BioVentures Ltd. and HBM BioCapital LP. Other continuing Series D investors included Alta Partners, Forward Ventures, Pacific Venture Group, Novartis Bioventure Fund, Genavent Partners (sanofi-aventis), Lotus BioScience Ventures, FirstBio, InterWest Partners, Red Abbey Venture Partners, Advent International, and GIMV. Since Nereus' first round of financing in 2000, the Company has raised a total of $80.6 million.
"We are very pleased with the significant progress Nereus has made over the past year and are enthusiastic about the clinical potential of the Company's two oncology programs," said Dr. Gary T. Shearman, Nereus Chairman and lead investor.
The proceeds from the financing will be used to initiate Phase I human clinical trials for Nereus' first two drug candidates and advance its portfolio of preclinical compounds. The first compound, NPI-2358, is a potent and selective tumor vascular disrupting agent (VDA) for the treatment of solid tumors. This class of compounds represents a novel approach to disrupting the intrinsic tumor blood flow, which leads to tumor cell death. Utilizing another approach, the therapeutic application of decreasing tumor blood flow has been successfully demonstrated by angiogenesis inhibitors such as Genentech's Avastin®. The parent molecule of NPI-2358 was isolated from a marine fungus that provided the novel chemistry.
Derived from a marine-obligate actinomycete, Nereus' second compound, NPI-0052, is a highly potent proteasome inhibitor that will be tested for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma, solid tumors and lymphomas. NPI-0052's selectivity and potency demonstrated in animal studies indicate that this next-generation compound could significantly enhance the market for proteasome inhibitors, which has been previously established by Millennium's Velcade®.
"With this additional backing from our investors, Nereus will soon begin the two clinical programs designed to evaluate the initial dosing, safety, pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic profiles of our lead oncology compounds," said Kobi M. Sethna, President and CEO of Nereus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "As we move forward with our human trials, we'll simultaneously dedicate our talent and resources to identifying additional novel compounds that may follow the same path towards becoming pharmaceuticals. A very exciting project advancing in preclinical development involves highly selective NFkB modulators for cancer, inflammatory diseases, and potentially other indications."
About Nereus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Nereus Pharmaceuticals pursues untapped sources of chemical diversity to discover and develop novel therapeutics. With unmatched expertise in marine microbiology and integrated technologies to identify novel biologically active compounds, the Company will begin clinical trials in 2006 with two targeted oncology candidates. Nereus' discovery portfolio also includes potential treatments for infectious diseases and inflammation. The Company is privately held and based in San Diego, California. For more information, visit www.nereuspharm.com.
Nereus Pharmaceuticals is a registered trademark of Nereus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Source: Nereus Pharmaceuticals
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