Biotechs round up new venture cash for COPD, Alzheimer's programs

San Diego-based Elevation Pharmaceuticals has raked in enough venture cash to push development of its nebulized LAMA treatment for COPD—the biotech's lead drug program—right up to the threshold of Phase III trials. A group of investors spearheaded by Novo Ventures and including Canaan Partners, TPG Biotech, Care Capital and Mesa Verde Venture Partners all joined in the $30 million round.

Their money will be used to pay for a pair of Phase IIb studies for EP-101.

"We believe that Elevation Pharmaceuticals' EP-101 will provide a much needed new treatment option for an underserved segment of the COPD patient population. EP-101 has already demonstrated improved lung function in multiple human clinical trials and Elevation's management team has a successful track record of developing drugs using new delivery technologies. Novo Ventures is very pleased to be able to support Elevation's efforts to improve the lives of COPD patients with our investment in the company's Series B financing," said Heath Lukatch, Ph.D., a partner in Novo Ventures who is now joining Elevation's board of directors.

In a separate venture announcement, Germany's Probiodrug AG reported that the developer had snagged a 15 million euro round from a group of investors—including Biogen Idec New Ventures—avid to back its work on a new Alzheimer's treatment. BB Biotech, Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, Life Sciences Partners, TVM Capital, HBM BioVentures, Goodvent/IBG as well as private investors also invested.

Olivier Litzka, a member of the Probiodrug board and a partner at Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, said Probiodrug "has made significant progress and created high value during the last two years with its innovative programs, culminating in the successful Phase I study with the first QC inhibitor PQ912. We are delighted to welcome Wellington Management to our already distinguished list of venture investors."

- here's the press release on Elevation
- here's the release on Probiodrug

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