Healthcare Industry News: Lundbeck
News Release - July 20, 2007
Biotechnology Start-up Nuon Therapeutics Inc. Completes $5 Million Series A Financing and Names Management TeamCapital Will Support Clinical Studies of Lead Compound Targeting MS, RA and Pain
SAN FRANCISCO--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Nuon Therapeutics Inc., a newly established clinical stage biotechnology company, today announced the completion of a $5 million Series A financing with GBS Venture Partners of Australia.
The company also announced that Rodney Pearlman, PhD, has been named CEO of Nuon Therapeutics, and will lead an experienced biotech development team including Helen Jenkins (Chief Operating Officer), Jan Wallace, MD (Chief Medical Officer, Regulatory) and Mike Selley, PhD (Chief Scientific Officer).
Nuon Therapeutics is a drug development company focusing on novel therapies for autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. The Company has an exclusive license to technology developed by Imperial College London and Stanford University. Nuon Therapeutics is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, with preclinical operations and clinical development in the UK, USA and Australia.
The Series A funding will enable Nuon Therapeutics to advance its orally active lead compound, tranilast, through the next phase of clinical development and support the discovery and development of additional compounds. Initially, the funding will be used to develop and protect the company's intellectual property, hire staff, secure supply of drug product, undertake related licensing and open an FDA IND.
Tranilast is currently marketed for the treatment of asthma in Japan and South Korea. Nuon Therapeutics' strategy is to reposition tranilast in new clinical indications as well as build a portfolio of additional drugs in autoimmune disease and pain.
"Nuon Therapeutics has developed new ways to address autoimmune diseases, where there is still significant unmet medical need. GBS was interested in the opportunity - presented by Nuon - to support lower risk clinical trials and faster path to registration," said Joshua Funder, D Phil, Chairman of the Board of Nuon Therapeutics and a partner with GBS Ventures.
Nuon Therapeutics' founding scientists, Marc Feldmann, MD, PhD and Larry Steinman, MD, have conducted wide-ranging preclinical testing of tranilast. Professor Feldmann, head of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, is the originator of anti-TNF alpha therapies, for which he was awarded the Lasker Prize, and one of the principal inventors of the rheumatoid arthritis (RA) blockbuster drug RemicadeŽ. Professor Steinman is professor, Departments of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University, and a specialist in multiple sclerosis (MS). His research identified the biological pathways that led to the development the MS therapeutic, TysabriŽ. Professor Steinman's work with tranilast showing improvement in an animal model of MS was published in the journal Science.
"Tranilast presents a significant opportunity as a new therapy in multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, drawing on the extensive safety profile of the drug and focusing our clinical efforts on efficacy," said Professor Feldmann. "Furthermore, there is a considerable need for effective and safe orally available drugs for patients with autoimmune diseases," Professor Feldmann said. "We look forward to entering advanced clinical studies to develop tranilast."
About the Nuon Therapeutics Management Team
Rodney Pearlman, PhD, named CEO of Nuon Therapeutics, was formerly CEO and President of Saegis Pharmaceuticals, until its acquisition by H. Lundbeck of Denmark in January 2007. Previously, Dr. Pearlman was Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Valentis, Inc., and was Director of Pharmaceutical R&D at Genentech, Inc. Prior to joining Genentech, he was a member of the faculty of Pharmaceutics at the University of Texas, Austin, and he began his industrial career as a Senior Scientist at Eli Lilly and Co in Indianapolis. He holds a PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Kansas, where his work focused on the area of delivery of drugs to the brain.
Prior to joining Nuon Therapeutics as COO, Helen Jenkins was Senior Vice President of Development Operations at Saegis, where she was responsible for managing the development of three novel drugs through clinical evaluation in Phase II trials. Prior to joining Saegis, Ms. Jenkins held positions at Valentis Inc., Glycomed Inc. and Genentech Inc. She holds a BS in Biochemistry from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and MA in Cellular and Molecular Biology from San Francisco State University.
Jan Wallace, MD, CMO and head of regulatory for Nuon Therapeutics, was formerly Vice President of CNS Clinical Development at Warner Lambert and then SVP of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs at Elan Pharmaceuticals during the initial development of TysabriŽ. Previously, Dr. Wallace was on the faculty of Yale University where he directed the Stroke Treatment Center.
Mike Selley, PhD, named CSO of Nuon Therapeutics, was formerly Chief of Staff to the Australian Commonwealth Minister for Science and Technology. Previously, he held appointments at the Australian National University and Sandoz, He holds a BSc in Bioechemistry and M Sc and PhD in Pharmacology.
About Nuon Therapeutics
Nuon Therapeutics Inc. is a clinical stage biotechnology company that develops innovative small molecule drugs that address critical, unmet needs in autoimmune disease and pain. Nuon Therapeutics' initial programs are focused on repositioning tranilast to treat multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and pain. The company's scientific founders are Prof. Larry Steinman at Stanford University, Palo Alto, Prof. Marc Feldmann, Imperial College, London, and Dr. Michael Selley, formerly from the Australian National University. Nuon Therapeutics Inc. has its headquarters in San Francisco, CA and has a wholly-owned subsidiary, Nuon Therapeutics Pty. Ltd., in Australia where additional discovery and development efforts are located.
About GBS Venture Partners
GBS is Australasia's largest specialist life science venture capital investment group. GBS manages specialist funds from seed through to expansion stage in the life sciences sector, and has more than AU$300m under management. The GBS team has been investing in Australasia since 1996 and played founding roles in companies with a combined market capitalisation of more than $1 billion.
Source: Nuon Therapeutics
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