Naurex Inc., a clinical-stage company focused on psychiatry and neurology, raised $38 million in Series B financing led by new investor Baxter Ventures. New investor Savitr Capital also participated in the financing, along with existing investors Adams Street Partners, Latterell Venture Partners, Genesys Capital, PathoCapital, Druid Bioventures, and Northwestern University, the company announced. Corporate investors Lundbeck, Takeda Ventures and Shire also contributed to the round. Naurex is based in Evanston, Illinois.
Naurex Inc., a clinical-stage company developing innovative treatments to address unmet needs in psychiatry and neurology, today announced the completion of a $38 million Series B financing led by new investor Baxter Ventures. Baxter Ventures is an investment initiative established by Baxter International in 2011 to invest up to US $200 million in promising companies. New investor Savitr Capital also participated in the financing, along with existing investors Adams Street Partners, Latterell Venture Partners, Genesys Capital, PathoCapital, Druid Bioventures, Northwestern University and other private investors, as well as corporate investors Lundbeck, Takeda Ventures and Shire. Naurex will use the proceeds from the Series B financing to fund a number of key programs from its NMDA receptor modulator platform, including conducting a Phase Ilb trial of GLYX-13, the company’s lead NMDA receptor modulator in development for the treatment of depression, advancing its second-generation compound NRX-1074 into Phase I and Il clinical trials in depression and further developing its second- and third-generation programs for other CNS disorders.
“The recent announcement of our GLYX-13 Phase II results is a watershed event for Naurex, strongly supporting our belief that our novel NMDA receptor modulators have breakthrough potential in the treatment of depression and possibly other CNS disorders,” noted Bill Gantz, executive chairman of Naurex. “We are delighted that Baxter Ventures, which has deep experience with IV therapeutics, is leading this financing, and we are especially pleased that an individual with the broad perspective and industry stature of Norbert Riedel will be representing Baxter on our Board of Directors.”
“Naurex’s novel NMDA receptor modulators embody the high level of innovation we seek to support at Baxter Ventures,” said Dr. Riedel, corporate vice president and chief science and innovation officer of Baxter International. “Depression and other CNS disorders represent areas of high unmet need, and we are optimistic that Naurex’s novel approach has the potential to provide valuable new therapeutic options to physicians and their patients.”
Naurex’s lead compound GLYX-13 is a partial agonist of the NMDA receptor. On December 6, 2012, Naurex reported the results of a Phase IIa trial of GLYX-13 in patients who had failed antidepressant therapy. They showed that a single intravenous administration of GLYX-13 produced significant reductions in depression scores that were evident within 24 hours and persisted for an average of seven days. After a single administration of GLYX-13, antidepressant efficacy as measured by effect size was nearly double that seen with other antidepressant drugs after weeks of dosing. GLYX-13 was well tolerated, and there were no signs of the schizophrenia-like side effects associated with other NMDA receptor modulators such as ketamine.
“The strong Phase II results from our lead compound GLYX-13 laid the foundation for the Series B financing,” said Derek A. Small, chief executive officer of Naurex. “We believe that GLYX-13 has the potential to address the major failings of current antidepressants and to do so without serious side effects. We are pleased that Baxter Ventures is leading this financing, and we also welcome new investor Savitr Capital. In addition, we appreciate the continuing support of our existing investors.”
In conjunction with the Series B financing, Dr. Norbert Reidel of Baxter International and Dr. Ian Ferrier, managing partner at Scotia-Nordic and advisor to Savitr Capital, will join the Naurex Board of Directors.
Naurex intends to start Phase I clinical trials for its second-generation oral product NRX-1074 in early 2013. NRX-1074 is an orally bioavailable molecule that will be developed as a therapy for major depressive disorder. It is based on the same platform as GLYX-13, and in preclinical studies has shown similar signs of ketamine-like efficacy without apparent safety issues.
Naurex’s CNS programs are based on the work of company founder Dr. Joseph R. Moskal and his colleagues at the Falk Center for Molecular Therapeutics at Northwestern University.
Naurex Inc. is a clinical-stage private company developing novel therapies to address unmet needs in psychiatry and neurology based on a new mechanism of action for modulating the NMDA receptor in a safe way. Naurex’s lead product GLYX-13 has shown promising antidepressant activity with excellent safety in a Phase II trial, confirming the efficacy signals and safety observed in Phase I and preclinical studies. In the Phase II trial in subjects who had failed treatment with one or more antidepressant agents, a single administration of GLYX-13 produced statistically significant reductions in depression scores within 24 hours, which persisted for an average of seven days. Naurex’s second-generation programs include a number of molecules with preclinical proof of concept. The company’s patented novel chemistry classes represent a platform for the development of new therapies for a variety of CNS disorders. For more information, visit www.naurex.com.
About Baxter Ventures
Baxter Ventures identifies companies with promising, early-stage technologies, products and/or therapies, and provides them with the capital and expertise needed to drive successful innovation. Baxter Ventures was created in 2011 by Baxter International Inc., which has an 80-year legacy of healthcare innovation and saving and sustaining lives worldwide. Baxter Ventures invests in companies with innovative technologies, products and therapies with the ability to improve patient care globally and maximize value for investors and entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.baxter.com/about_baxter/scientific_excellence/baxter_ventures/index.html.
About Savitr Capital
Savitr Capital, LLC is an Investment Manager focusing on investing in renewable and clean energy and innovative healthcare companies. Savitr has a socially responsible approach to investments with a goal of providing superior risk-adjusted returns. These financial goals are coupled with a commitment to sustainability and responsible stewardship by investing in companies poised for leadership. Savitr is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing. For information, contact the company at [email protected]
About Adams Street Partners
Adams Street Partners, LLC is a leading private equity investment firm, providing primary and secondary partnership and direct investment management services to institutional clients. 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 and managing direct investments in private equity since 1972. Adams Street Partners has offices in Chicago, London, Menlo Park and Singapore. For more information, visit www.adamsstreetpartners.com.
About Latterell Venture Partners
Latterell Venture Partners invests in early stage healthcare companies with innovative technologies, large market opportunities, and passionate entrepreneurs. It offers a unique blend of venture capital, entrepreneurial, technical, clinical and collaborative skills that enable the firm to help entrepreneurs create highly successful new startups. LVP is committed to building a portfolio of outstanding biotechnology and medical device companies that produce excellent returns for its limited partners while providing major new disease treatments to help patients worldwide. For more information, visit www.lvpcapital.com.
About Genesys Capital
Genesys Capital is focused on building companies in the high-growth sectors of healthcare and biotechnology. Through its expertise and industry network, Genesys accelerates the development of commercially viable emerging companies that represent promising biotechnology investment opportunities. Genesys is one of the largest Canadian-based venture capital firms exclusively focused on the life sciences industry. For more information, visit www.genesyscapital.com.
PathoCapital LLC, is a privately owned investment company that invests in healthcare companies.
About Druid BioVentures
Druid BioVentures, LLC creates and invests in novel drug candidates with a focus on virtual companies managed by highly experienced drug development professionals.
H. Lundbeck A/S (LUN.CO, LUNDC, HLUKY) is an international pharmaceutical company highly committed to improving the quality of life for people suffering from brain disorders. For this purpose, Lundbeck is engaged in the research, development, production, marketing and sale of pharmaceuticals across the world. The company’s products are targeted at disorders such as depression and anxiety, schizophrenia, insomnia, epilepsy and Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Lundbeck is one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies working with CNS disorders. For more information, visit www.lundbeck.com
Shire enables people with life-altering conditions to lead better lives. Through our deep understanding of patients’ needs, we develop and provide healthcare in the areas of: Behavioral Health and Gastro Intestinal conditions, Rare Diseases, Regenerative Medicine as well as other symptomatic conditions treated by specialist physicians. We aspire to imagine and lead the future of healthcare, creating value for patients, physicians, policymakers, payors and our shareholders. For further information on Shire, please visit the Company’s website: www.shire.com.
About Takeda Ventures
Takeda Ventures, Inc. (TVI) is the corporate venture arm of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, a world-class pharmaceutical company and the largest in Japan. TVI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Takeda America Holdings, Inc. It seeks strategic opportunities to complement and extend internal discovery capabilities, but will additionally explore potentially new business avenues for Takeda through external strategic venture activities. Our aim is to encourage and support therapeutic innovation in the biopharmaceutical sector, as well as academic centers of excellence, through early stage capital investment and provision of access to the resources of a multinational pharmaceutical company.