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Madison Drug Developer Raises $1.25 Million

Madison Drug Developer Raises $1.25 Million [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

From Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) (January 11, 2011)


Jan. 11--A Madison drug developer will announce Tuesday it has secured $1.25 million of funding that it will use to explore additional uses for its lead drug candidate.

Venture Investors and the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, both in Madison, along with Rocket Venture Fund of Toledo, Ohio, participated in the funding.

Mithridion Inc. is developing drugs to improve brain function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia, and perhaps even halting the progression of Alzheimer’s. The company’s lead drug candidate, which it calls MCD-386, has completed the first phase of clinical trials that included 55 volunteers, said Trevor M. Twose, Mithridion’s chief executive. The drug has shown potential to stop the disease processes in Alzheimer’s patients, he said.

"The data they have on their compounds keeps growing, and it’s extraordinarily encouraging," said John Neis, managing director of Venture Investors.

Mithridion is looking for a bigger pharmaceutical or biopharmaceutical company to partner with for further development of MCD-386 because of the high cost to go forward, Twose said.

"To tackle those really big opportunities, we need a strong partner," he said.

The new funding brings to about $8.5 million the amount of money Mithridion has raised.

It will allow the company to develop its compounds with an eye toward targeting niche diseases where there are unmet needs and the cost of development is lower. Mithridion hasn’t settled on which niches, but might consider diseases like progressive supranuclear palsy or a certain type of very early onset Alzheimer’s disease, Twose said.

The niche strategy will help Mithridion add to its pipeline, so the company has more value the next time it goes out to raise money, said Bryan Renk, executive director of BioForward, Wisconsin’s biotech industry trade association.

"This looks like a strategy to raise a significant round of funding," Renk said.

Based in Madison, Mithridion has operations in Toledo and a total of 12 employees.

Big pharmaceutical companies have been outsourcing drug development, and the associated risk, to smaller companies such as Mithridion. That’s resulted in more such companies in the state. Others include Addictive Therapeutics, Centrose, Deltanoid, Promentus and Quintessence.

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Posted: January 2011