From the press release. MedaRed, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing new therapeutics targeting fibrin today announced it had completed a $6.5 million seed financing round that was led by the Dementia Discovery Fund and Dolby Family Ventures.
MedaRed is founded upon the pioneering work of Dr. Katerina Akassoglou, PhD, Senior Investigator at Gladstone Institutes and Professor of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Akassoglou and colleagues discovered that fibrin, a blood-clotting factor, is implicated in the toxic inflammation that damages neurons in neurological diseases including Alzheimer's disease (AD) and multiple sclerosis (MS). MedaRed's key technology was invented by its co-founder Katerina Akassoglou, PhD, who discovered molecules that reduce neuroinflammation and the subsequent damage to neurons.
MedaRed will use the seed financing to develop these molecules into therapeutics that target fibrin for people with diseases that have significant unmet clinical need. The initial focus of the company will be on AD and MS.
"We are thrilled to work with MedaRed to advance new therapeutics for people with dementia and neurodegenerative diseases. Their innovative approach to targeting neuroinflammation could provide a disruptive treatment option for the field," said Angus Grant, PhD, CEO of the DDF. "Built on a robust scientific foundation in which Dr. Akassoglou leveraged her considerable experience and biological insights to uncover novel pathways impacting brain health, we believe the therapeutics MedaRed could develop have the potential to ultimately improve the lives of patients."
"Fibrin is a common thread in various diseases with blood leaks and chronic inflammation in the brain and the periphery. With support from DDF and Dolby Family Ventures, there is an opportunity for MedaRed to develop a new class of therapeutics for numerous diseases with vascular damage including Alzheimer's disease," said MedaRed Chief Scientific Officer Jeffrey Stavenhagen, PhD.
Jeffrey Stavenhagen brings 20 years of scientific leadership experience in both the U.S. and Europe using emerging technology platforms for the development of novel biologics. Dr. Stavenhagen comes to MedaRed from Therachon, where he was Vice President of Biology and was responsible for preclinical research and CMC until the company's recent acquisition by Pfizer, Inc. in a transaction valued at more than $800 million. Prior to Therachon, Dr. Stavenhagen served as a Senior Director at Lundbeck (Denmark) and led their global biologics program to treat CNS diseases. Previously he served as Director, Molecular Immunology at Amplimmune and held roles of increasing responsibility at MacroGenics. Dr. Stavenhagen started his career as an assistant professor at the University of Dayton in the Department of Biology. He received his Ph.D. in molecular biology from Columbia University and conducted Post-Doctoral research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.
SV Health Investors (SV) Venture Partner Daniel Burgess is MedaRed's acting CEO. Mr. Burgess, was founder, President and CEO of Rempex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an antibiotic company that was sold to the Medicines Company two years after its founding in a transaction valued at up to $475 million. Previously, Mr. Burgess was President and CEO of Mpex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a company that advanced an inhaled antibiotic for cystic fibrosis patients into Phase 3 clinical trials; the drug was acquired by Aptalis, Inc. (now Allergan) in 2011. Mr. Burgess has also held senior executive positions at a number of other biotechnology companies and serves on the boards of directors of a number of public and private companies.
Joining the board are Mike Ross PhD and Laurence Barker PhD of SV representing DDF, Pascal Levensohn representing Dolby Family Ventures, Dr. Akassoglou and Mr. Burgess.
About the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF)
The DDF is a venture capital fund which invests in projects and companies to discover and develop novel, effective, disease-modifying therapeutics for dementia. Seven leading pharmaceutical companies (Biogen, Eli Lilly and Company, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Otsuka (Astex), Pfizer and Takeda), AARP, Aegon, Bill Gates, British Patient Capital, NFL Players Association, Quest Diagnostics, UnitedHealth Group, the UK's Department of Health and Social Care, and charity Alzheimer's Research UK have invested in the DDF to date. The DDF is managed by SV Health Managers LLP, where a dedicated team of neuroscientists and experts work alongside a scientific advisory board - comprised of representatives from the strategic investors - to identify and evaluate novel approaches for the treatment of dementia. www.theddfund.com
About Dolby Family Ventures
Dolby Family Ventures is an early stage venture firm focused on building great technology companies and advancing scientific discovery through investments in innovation. The fund portfolio includes biotech platforms and tools, diagnostics, as well as a host of novel therapeutic approaches to Alzheimer's disease. The firm engages with new biopharma programs prior to Phase I human clinical trials, with a focus on optimizing drug candidates, launching successful clinical trials, and building strategic relationships with investment syndicates and partners in the Pharmaceutical industry to help find a cure to Alzheimer's disease.