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Nura, Inc. Closes Series A Round, Awarded NIH Grant For Anxiety Research



10/19/2005 5:11:36 PM

SEATTLE, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Nura, Inc. is a new Seattle biotechnology company aiming to develop treatments for curing intractable neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases and neurological conditions such as epilepsy, schizophrenia, depression, chronic pain, and addiction -- conditions affecting millions of people worldwide.

The company's series A financing, totaling $9,500,000 was led by Seattle-based ARCH Venture Partners, and Swiss firm Aravis, and included investments from Vulcan Capital, Linkagene LP, and the Novartis Venture Fund. Local venture capitalists Bob Nelsen (ARCH) and Michael Kranda (Vulcan) will join the board, along with Jean-Philippe Tripet from Aravis, based in Zurich. "We found Nura's technology platform for the discovery and validation of targets, and their focus on significant unmet needs in the marketplace to be very attractive," said Michael Kranda. Bob Nelsen added, "This is a terrific management team with significant experience in both platform technology and therapeutics companies, which we felt was a potent combination, and which significantly increased the chances of success." Concurrent with the close of this financing, Nura is also announcing the receipt of a $1,000,000-plus National Institutes of Health fast-track grant award to study anxiety.

Nura has a strong neurobiology platform. The company is focusing on a class of drug targets favored by the pharmaceutical industry, called G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). These receptors have led to medications for blood pressure, asthma, allergies, depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease, and ulcers. Using high-resolution mapping of the brain, and systems for the detailed analysis of behavior, Nura scientists have identified 200 GPCRs that appear to have roles in brain function, and have determined that a number of these receptors regulate key behaviors. Since very few GPCRs have so far been targeted by the pharmaceutical industry for neurological disorders, Nura believes there is a great opportunity to develop new drugs for major disease markets.

The Company has an experienced management team. CEO Patrick Gray has been in the biotechnology industry for 25 years, as an early scientist at Genentech and Vice President at ICOS. Several of his discoveries have resulted in approved pharmaceuticals such as a vaccine for Hepatitis B and interferon. Mark Benjamin is Nura's Chief Business Officer and is also a long term member of the biotech industry, most recently as Vice President of a Serono SA subsidiary, after heading up business development at Rosetta Inpharmatics, now a division of Merck. George Gaitanaris is Chief Scientific Officer of Nura, former CSO of Seattle-based Primal, and was an NIH Staff Scientist. Chief Financial Officer, Jim Johnston has been involved with numerous technology companies throughout his career, most recently as CFO at Northwest Biotherapeutics. The founding scientists at Nura include Linda Buck, Ph.D., a former professor at Harvard Medical School now a Howard Hughes fellow and member at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Buck is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and has made landmark discoveries in understanding the role of GPCRs in smell and taste.

For more information, see http://www.nurainc.com/

CONTACT: media, Patrick Gray or Mark Benjamin, both of Nura, +1-206-344-2100, or info@nurainc.com.

Nura, Inc.

CONTACT: media, Patrick Gray or Mark Benjamin, both of Nura,+1-206-344-2100, or info@nurainc.com


Read at BioSpace.com


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