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SciFluor Life Sciences Launches with $5M Seed Funding


5/17/2011 8:05:49 AM

BOSTON-- SciFluor Life Sciences, LLC today announced that it has secured $5 million in first-round funding from Allied Minds to commercialize a revolutionary technology that enables late-stage fluorination of pharmaceutical drug candidates and other commercial chemicals. Adding fluorine to organic molecules, such as pharmaceuticals, can significantly improve metabolic stability, potency, binding affinity, bioavailability and blood-brain barrier penetration. SciFluor plans to engage with strategic partners to develop and commercialize new, high-value fluorinated compounds for the pharmaceutical, agrochemical and specialty chemical industries.

SciFluor’s technology is based on fundamental breakthroughs discovered and developed by Professor Tobias Ritter and colleagues in Harvard University’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. The company has an exclusive, worldwide license from Harvard University to various late- or end-stage fluorination methods and to a portfolio of novel fluorinated compounds.

“Late- or end-stage fluorination is a promising strategy to quickly access new drug candidates with potentially improved pharmacological profiles,” said Dr. Ritter, scientific founder and Chief Technical Officer of SciFluor. Dr. Ritter is an Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard, and is a recognized expert in organo-metallic chemistry and fluorine chemistry.

“Despite the significant benefits of fluorination, the process has been, until now, extremely difficult and expensive in complex molecules, so late-stage fluorine substitution is often simply not done,” said Don Ciappenelli, Ph.D., General Manager of SciFluor. “Additionally, fluorination after the lead optimization stage is challenging with existing methods – so the opportunity for the greatest benefit may be lost. SciFluor helps to solve this problem with its breakthrough technology that enables precise, any-stage introduction of fluorine atoms into many important bio-active compounds.” Dr. Ciappenelli has been the co-founder of numerous ventures including ChemDesign, Ariad, Gallia, TranXenoGen, Aprilis, Daiamed, Le@p, and NewCyte. He was also former Director of the Chemical Laboratories at Harvard University.

"SciFluor’s technology will enable the company to develop new, high-value compounds for a variety of industries and applications across the entire drug development process,” said Chris Silva, CEO of Allied Minds. “Initially, the company will focus on partnering with companies in the biopharmaceutical industry, where SciFluor will establish collaborative programs for the synthesis of new fluorinated compounds to initiate, advance or improve preclinical drug candidates efficiently, rapidly and with lower risk at the end stage vs. painful and costly reworking of synthetic pathways.”

"We're pleased that this important technology will be applied to assist the development of new drugs and drug therapies," said Isaac Kohlberg, Senior Associate Provost and head of Harvard's Office of Technology Development. "The license granted to SciFluor exemplifies Harvard’s commitment to serve the public interest--a vital part of our core mission--by ensuring the translation of nascent technologies from Harvard laboratories to the marketplace in appropriate and effective ways that will benefit society."

About SciFluor’s Late-Stage Fluorination Technology

SciFluor’s late-stage fluorination technology has been validated across multiple therapeutic areas, including CNS, Infectious disease, Cardiovascular disease and Oncology, with proof-of-concept achieved via fluorinating dozens of marketed compounds. This technology has the potential to add value across the entire drug development process, including: lead optimization, preclinical and clinical development of novel new chemical entities, accessing inaccessible or unexplored therapeutics and lifecycle management of drugs with soon-to-expire patents.

About SciFluor Life Sciences, LLC

SciFluor Life Sciences is an Allied Minds-funded company with a late-stage fluorination technology that improves drug properties such as metabolic stability, potency, bioavailability, and blood-brain barrier penetration. The company's late-stage fluorination technology, and its companion portfolio of fluorinated pharmaceuticals, are licensed exclusively from Harvard University. SciFluor's technology enables end-stage or any-stage fluorination of a wide variety of organic compounds. www.scifluor.com

About Harvard University’s Office of Technology Development

Harvard's Office of Technology Development (OTD) is responsible for all activities pertaining to the evaluation, patenting and licensing of new inventions and discoveries made at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School. OTD also serves to further the development of Harvard technologies through the establishment of sponsored research collaborations with industry. OTD’s mission is to promote the public good by fostering innovation and translating new inventions made at Harvard into useful products available and beneficial to society. www.otd.harvard.edu

About Allied Minds, Inc.

Allied Minds is a $250M private equity-funded innovation company with offices in Boston and Los Angeles. The company creates startup businesses based on early-stage technology developed at U.S. universities and national labs, and serves as a holding company that supports these businesses with capital, management and shared services. Allied Minds is the premier firm to utilize this novel and fully integrated approach to technology investing. The company’s subsidiary investments span multiple business sectors and offer an attractive risk-return profile, a deliverable timeline and potential products that will be groundbreaking in their respective fields. www.alliedminds.com

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