Money Moves is a column where we chart the funding raises of tech companies across the region. Have a tip? Email us at email@example.com.
Palvella Therapeutics’ Series D
Palvella Therapeutics, a Berwyn-based late clinical stage biopharma company, recently closed a $37.7 million Series D round led by Petrichor and new investor Gore Range Capital. Existing investors Samsara BioCapital, BVF Partners L.P., Agent Capital, Nolan Capital and BioAdvance also participated in the financing, per a company announcement.
The company works on therapies for rare, series genetic skin diseases. The funding will go toward advancing its lead product candidate, QTORIN rapamycin. The therapy treats those suffering from Pachyonychia Congenita, Microcystic Lymphatic Malformations and Gorlin Syndrome, all forms of chronic pain.
Palvella is anticipating receiving Phase 2 results in Microcystic LM this quarter, Phase 2b top-line results in GS in the first half of 2023 and Phase 3 top-line results in PC in mid-2023.
“We greatly appreciate the support of our investors, new and existing, and their conviction in our ability to develop and commercialize novel therapies for serious, rare genetic skin diseases,” founder and CEO Wes Kaupinen said in a statement.
Peroxitech’s Series A
In late 2022, biopharma company Peroxitech, a University of Pennsylvania spinout based out of the Pennovation Center, raised a $25 million Series A. The company is developing a peptide for treating acute lung injury, and plans to build on its preclinical work to advance its lead candidate, PIP-2, through IND-enabling studies and into clinical development.
The lead investor in this round, Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund (PXV Fund), was a follow-on from the company’s seed round in 2021. Peroxitech has also secured additional grants from the National Institutes of Health for follow-on indications and further pipeline development.
“The data generated to date for PIP-2 represents a potential breakthrough in the prevention and treatment of ALI,” Thomas Han, CEO and cofounder of Peroxitech, said in a statement. “We are pleased with the progress we have made through the Xontogeny seed investment and to expand upon our close partnership through this PXV Fund Series A approval so that we can bring this compelling program forward to patients as expeditiously as possible.”
Nia Therapeutics’ seed round
Center City-based biotech company Nia Therapeutics, which is developing an advanced neurostimulation system to stimulate memory for patients with traumatic brain injury, recently raised a seed round, CEO Dan Rizzuto confirmed to Technical.ly. The company’s roots go back decades, to Rizzuto’s time as a student with cofounder Mike Kahana.
In 2014, Kahana received $23 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency through its Restoring Active Memory (RAM) project to develop the technology, and Rizzuto moved across the country to build up the company. He spent the last few years working as project director for the RAM project at Penn before leaving in January 2018 to be the full-time CEO of Nia.
The seed round, $6.2 million, is being used to evaluate the safety and performance of Nia’s product in preclinical studies. The first clinical target is the treatment of memory loss due to traumatic brain injury.
“More than 27 million Americans are living with memory loss and there are currently no effective therapies available,” Rizzuto said. “Our brain sensing and stimulation platform was developed at the University of Pennsylvania with funding from the Department of Defense, and utilizes machine learning to personalize each patient’s therapy based upon their unique pattern of brain activity.”
Startup Bucks’ funding
Three startups have recently received $25,000 investments through the Bucks County Industrial Development Authority and the Bucks Built Startup Fund. The funding comes through programming via the suburban entrepreneurship org Startup Bucks, which now has 18 companies in its portfolio.
The three startups which recently received funding are Innovative Supply Solutions, a SaaS company that helps pharmaceutical customers face clinical trial supply chains; Kuaay, a used vehicle buying platform; and Merlin Biotech, which uses RNA for the development of novel therapeutics and vaccines.
Those who apply for funding must live, employ or operate their companies in Bucks County and have no more than five full-time employees. Director Jon Mercer said of this cycle of Bucks Built that runs through Feb. 12, there are two, $25,000 investments still available. Partner Penn Community Bank has also sponsored grants up to $20,000 for “for promising applicants that do not receive investment,” through Bucks Built.
Anexinet is rebranding to Verinext following its merger in early 2022. The Blue Bell tech company merged with Atlanta-based Veristor Systems, bringing with it a string of acquisitions over the last few years — California-based Propelics in 2018, Georgia-based Alpharetta in 2020, Atlanta-based Light Networks in 2021 and Veristor last February.
The companies announced in January that they would take on the combined company name of Verinext. The new name “captures the essence of truth, passion and innovation, guiding digital transformations that prepare customers for what’s next,” per a statement.
“Since merging the people and capabilities of Anexinet and Veristor, we have been overwhelmed by the incremental value of our synergies,” Brian Glahn, CEO of Verinext, said in the statement. “Together we have become a powerhouse technology innovator and solution provider with the unique ability to deliver end-to-end solutions with a personal, customer-centric touch. We’re excited about our new brand and how it positions us for the next stage in our growth.”
Pennovation Center / University of Pennsylvania
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