Healthcare Industry News:  neurodegenerative 

Biopharmaceuticals Neurology Venture Capital

 News Release - March 26, 2009

Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals Raises $17 Million Series A Funding

MENLO PARK, CA--(Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network)--Mar 26, 2009 -- Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately held pharmaceutical company developing proprietary small molecule drugs for neurodegenerative diseases, today announced the completion of $17 million in Series A financing.

Co-investing in the Series A funding are Latterell Venture Partners of San Francisco, CA, VantagePoint Venture Partners of San Bruno, CA and Adams Street Partners of Chicago, IL. Dr. James Woody of Latterell, Annette Bianchi of VantagePoint and Terry Gould of Adams Street will join the Neuraltus Board of Directors.

Neuraltus was founded in 2005 by Michael McGrath, MD, PhD, Professor of Laboratory Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, Edgar Engleman MD, Professor of Medicine and Pathology at Stanford University School of Medicine and Ari Azhir, PhD.

"Neuraltus offers a strong pipeline of compounds for the treatment of serious neurological diseases for which there are few if any clinical options," said Dr. James Woody of Latterell Venture Partners.

"It is a great vote of confidence when investors with so much experience in biotechnology have chosen to devote their resources to Neuraltus," said Ari Azhir, CEO and co-founder.

Neuraltus has a number of compounds in the pipeline, including a drug to treat ALS (Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease), a drug that will reduce dyskinesia (jerky involuntary movement) in patients suffering from Parkinson's Disease, and a drug for the treatment of Gaucher's Disease (a Lysosomal Storage Disorder). The Series A funding will enable Neuraltus to conduct and complete phase I and phase II clinical trials for each of these disorders.

"We believe Neuraltus has the potential to develop innovative drugs for these intractable diseases," said Annette Bianchi of VantagePoint.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. As voluntary muscle action is progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to death. Most people who develop ALS are between the ages of 40 and 70, but victims of ALS can be as young as 20 or 30.

"We think Neuraltus has discovered a way to slow or even to stop the progression of ALS," said Dr. Michael McGrath, co-founder of Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals. "Our drug functions in a new way by attacking a novel disease target. We think it is a promising platform for the treatment of ALS as well as other neurodegenerative diseases."

Parkinson's Disease occurs when the neurons in the brain that produce dopamine die or become impaired. Dopamine allows smooth, coordinated function of the body's muscles and movement. Drugs that replace or simulate dopamine activity are the mainstay of Parkinson's Disease treatment regimens. However, after a short period of time dyskinesia, a major side effect of this treatment program, occurs. Dyskinesia manifests as tremulous jerky movements that are often as severe as the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. Currently there is no effective therapy for this dyskinesia. The first effective treatment of dyskinesia will enable Parkinson's patients to benefit from the effectiveness of Parkinson's therapies.

Gaucher's Disease is the most prevalent Lysosomal Storage Disorder and results from a specific enzyme deficiency in the body, caused by a genetic mutation received from both parents. The disease is progressive, incurable and causes severe disability and death.

About Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a privately held biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing and commercializing innovative small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders

About Latterell Venture Partners

Latterell Venture Partners ("LVP") invests in early stage biotechnology, specialty pharmaceutical, and medical device companies with innovative technologies, large market opportunities, and passionate entrepreneurs. The LVP General Partners offer a unique blend of venture capital, entrepreneurial, technical, clinical and collaborative skills which enable entrepreneurs to create highly successful new startups. The LVP team has built more than thirty successful biomedical companies over the past twenty years. Among the recent companies LVP has played a major role in are device companies such as Pathway, Cardiomind, and Xtent, and biotech companies such as OncoMed and Proteolix, where LVP was the founding investor. More information about LVP is available on the LVP website at www.LVPcapital.com.

About VantagePoint Venture Partners

VantagePoint Venture Partners is a leader in investing in 21st Century technologies and partners with entrepreneurs in the CleanTech, Healthcare and Information Technology sectors. With a large investment team of experts, a broad network of strategic partners and advisors, and more than $4.5 billion in committed capital, the Firm has the depth of resources to help build transformative companies that are clear leaders in their categories. The Silicon Valley Firm has investments in more than 70 companies including TargeGen, Anthera, Conceptus, WageWorks, LifeMasters, Better Place, BrightSource Energy, Mascoma, Miasole, ReachLocal and others. For more information visit www.vpvp.com.

About Adams Street Partners

Adams Street Partners is one of the largest managers of private equity investments in the world and has one of the longest histories. Together with its predecessor organizations, Adams Street Partners has been investing in private equity partnerships since 1979, managing direct investments in private equity since 1972 and is credited with establishing the first private equity fund of funds for institutional investors. The Firm currently has 100+ employees and $19.5 billion of assets under management. Adams Street Partners has offices in Chicago, London, Menlo Park and Singapore.


Source: Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals

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