Baxter joins Big Pharma funds on $38M B round for Naurex anti-depression R&D
Baxter's new venture fund has stepped up to take the lead on a $38 million B round for Naurex, an Evanston, IL-based biotech prepping for a Phase IIb study of its lead anti-depressant, which has already attracted the support of three big corporate funds.
The money from Baxter Ventures--founded last year with $200 million and a mission to find promising new technologies--and others is being earmarked for GLYX-13, an NMDA-receptor modulator that produced some promising results in a Phase IIa recently. The venture cash will also further development of NRX-1074, which is being billed as a second-generation program now in early-stage development.
New investor Savitr Capital also participated in the financing, reports Naurex, along with a lengthy list of supporters which includes existing investors Adams Street Partners, Latterell Venture Partners, Genesys Capital, PathoCapital, Druid Bioventures, and Northwestern University. Corporate investors at Lundbeck, Takeda Ventures and Shire are already on board as well.
The backing is notable because anti-depressants have proved problematic in clinical development, often defying expectations and repeatedly failing in the face of big placebo responses. Just a few days ago Naurex said that GLYX-13 produced a statistically significant response among depressed patients after just 24 hours, without the symptoms of schizophrenia seen in patients on other NMDA receptor-modulating therapies.
"The recent announcement of our GLYX-13 Phase II results is a watershed event for Naurex, strongly supporting our belief that our novel NMDA receptor modulators have breakthrough potential in the treatment of depression and possibly other CNS disorders," noted Bill Gantz, executive chairman of Naurex. "We are delighted that Baxter Ventures, which has deep experience with IV therapeutics, is leading this financing, and we are especially pleased that an individual with the broad perspective and industry stature of Norbert Riedel will be representing Baxter on our board of directors."