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AllTranz, PNP Therapeutics, BioRelix, Coda Genomics, GlycoVaxyn, Theragenetics

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Following is a summary of recent early-stage investments in university-spawned start-up companies in the life sciences and biotechnology industries:
 
 
AllTranz, a University of Kentucky spinout, recently received seed fund investments totaling $860,000, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported last week.
 
Founded by Audra Stinchcomb, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at UK, AllTranz is developing methods for delivering pain management drugs via a patch or gel. The company is currently housed at the UK Advanced Science and Technology Commercialization Center.
 
Investors in the company included the Kentucky Seed Capital Fund, with $250,000; and Bluegrass Angel Ventures and private individuals, the Herald-Leader reported.
 

 
PNP Therapeutics announced last month that it has received $925,000 in Series B financing through the Birmingham Technology Fund, managed by Greer Capital Advisors of Birmingham, Ala., and Phase 1 Holdings.
 
Based in Birmingham, PNP was founded by Eric Sorscher, a professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and William Parker, director of the biochemistry and molecular biology department at Southern Research Institute.
 
PNP is developing anti-tumor agents based on the combination of delivering genetic material to a tumor mass and activating a prodrug within the mass. PNP said that preclinical animal studies have demonstrated that the approach compels solid tumors to “create their own chemotherapy,” causing tumor self-destruction.
 
PNP said that it will use the investment to prepare the drug for Phase 1 clinical trials.
 

 
BioRelix, a New Haven, Conn.-based company developing anti-infective agents, last month said that it has completed a $25.75 million Series A financing round.
 
The financing was led by CHL Medical Partners with participation by new investors New Leaf Venture Partners and Aisling Capital, and existing investors Novartis Venture Fund, Elm Street Ventures, and Alexandria Real Estate Equities.
 
BioRelix said that it plans to use the funds to build a portfolio of anti-infective product candidates based on patented bacterial RNA targets, termed RoboSwitches, which were identified in the laboratory of Ronald Breaker, a company co-founder and Howard Hughes Investigator and professor at Yale University.
 
BioRelix’s other co-founders include Ken Blount, director of research at BioRelix and associate research scientist at Yale; Donny Strosberg, currently a professor in the department of infectology at Scripps Research Institute-Florida; and Steven Delco, vice president of healthcare and healthcare portfolio manager at Weiss, Peck, and Greer.
 

 
Coda Genomics, of Laguna Hills, Calif., last week announced that it has secured $7 million in Series C financing.
 
Coda said that it will use the funds to expand and manage its recent growth, driven by recent new and expanding collaborations with undisclosed pharmaceutical companies. Coda’s translational engineering platforms are used to optimize protein production at a ribosomal level to produce pharmaceutical proteins.
 
The financing round was led by OVP Venture Partners, and included existing investors Monitor Ventures, Tech Coast Angels, and Life Science Angels.
 
CODA was spun out of the University of California, Irvine in 2005 based on the work of professors Wesley Hatfield and Rick Lathrop.
 

 
Swiss biotech GlycoVaxyn last week announced that it has closed a CHF11.5 million ($9.3 million) Series A financing round.
 
Existing investors Sofinnova Partners and Index Ventures both “significantly increased” their equal investment in the company after having seeded it in July 2006, GlycoVaxyn said.
 
GlycoVaxyn, based in Schlieren, will use the proceeds to advance its portfolio of conjugated vaccines that target common bacterial infections, to complete the preclinical development of a lead vaccine candidate, and to establish a GMP production process.
 
GlycoVaxyn is a spinout of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
 

 
Theragenetics, a London-based personalized medical diagnostic company focused on central nervous system disorders, last week announced the completion of a £3 million ($6.1 million) Series A venture financing round.
 
Swarraton Partners led the financing round with participation from Tudor Capital, IP Venture Fund, and IP Group.
 
A spinout of the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, TheraGenetics will use the financing to expand its intellectual property position and expedite the development of its pharmacogenomic diagnostic tests for CNS disorders such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and mood disorders.

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