Healthcare Industry News:  MedImmune 

Biopharmaceuticals Venture Capital

 News Release - October 2, 2009

Arginetix Closes $10.75 Million Series A Financing

Proceeds to be used to develop first-in-class arginase inhibitors for cardiovascular and pulmonary indications

BALTIMORE, MD, Oct., 2--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Arginetix, Inc. today announced it has closed a $10.75 million Series A financing. The company is developing small molecule inhibitors of the enzyme arginase for the treatment of endothelial dysfunction, including pulmonary arterial hypertension, atherosclerosis and asthma.

The financing was co-led by Quaker BioVentures and MedImmune Ventures, a wholly owned venture capital fund of the AstraZeneca Group. Maryland Health Care Product Development Corp., Osage University Partners, Red Abbey Venture Partners, and company co-founder Acidophil LLC also participated in the round.

Arginetix will utilize this financing for further discovery and to continue development of its first-in-class arginase inhibitors for cardiovascular and pulmonary indications. The company's scientific foundation is based on licensed intellectual property of its scientific co-founders, David Christianson, Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and Dan Berkowitz, M.D. at The Johns Hopkins University.

“This financing is an important endorsement for the potential for Arginetix’ discovery and development programs,” said Gary Lessing, CEO and co-founder. “The company is fortunate to be working with a talented and experienced group of investors, including both traditional and corporate-based life sciences firms. Their expertise in the discovery and development of drugs and their track record at building world-class companies will be invaluable to Arginetix’ continued success.”

“Arginetix is pursuing major clinical opportunities using their technology for patients with cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. The company’s recent research has added further validation for this important innovation,” says Dr. Geeta Vemuri, partner at Quaker BioVentures.

“Arginase appears to be an attractive target with therapeutic potential in a wide range of cardiovascular and pulmonary indications. We are pleased to support their development efforts through this investment and look forward to working with the management team,” says Eva M. Jack, Managing Director at MedImmune Ventures.

About Arginetix

Arginetix is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing and commercializing novel therapeutic small molecule inhibitors of arginase. Arginase is an enzyme that competes with endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase (eNOS) for the use of the common substrate L-arginine. Elevated Arginase limits L-arginine available for eNOS resulting in both a reduction in Nitric Oxide (NO) production (reducing signaling critical for normal function) as well as eNOS "uncoupling" leading to the production of damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS). Further, arginase also leads to the production of ornithine which increases polyamine, stimulating cell division, contributing to hyperplasia and fibrosis. Together the decrease in NO, the increase in ROS and the increase in ornithine are major causes of endothelial dysfunction. Indications include Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, asthma, atherosclerosis and other diseases of endothelial dysfunction.

About Quaker BioVentures

Quaker BioVentures is a venture capital firm with $700 million under management, dedicated to investing in life science companies in the Mid-Atlantic region and contiguous states. The firm leads investments in companies across the spectrum of the life science industry, including biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, human diagnostics, specialty pharmaceuticals, and healthcare services. Quaker BioVentures invests in companies at all stages of development, from early stage businesses to public companies. Please visit Quaker BioVentures’ website at

About MedImmune Ventures

MedImmune Ventures is a wholly owned venture capital fund of the AstraZeneca Group. It was created in 2002 to leverage MedImmune's expertise in discovering, developing and commercializing biotechnology products, as well as its financial resources, to transform new ideas in biotechnology into successful products and companies. MedImmune Ventures invests in early- to late-stage, public or private biotechnology companies focused on discovering and developing human therapeutics. MedImmune Ventures primarily seeks to invest in areas of strategic interest to AstraZeneca and MedImmune, including infectious diseases, cancer, inflammatory diseases, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, pain and central nervous system disorders, and gastrointestinal disease. For more information, please visit

Source: Arginetix

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