BALTIMORE — Cerecor Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing innovative treatments to make a difference in the lives of patients suffering from nervous system disorders, today announced the closing of the first tranche of a $32M Series B financing. The investment round was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Apple Tree Partners (ATP) and MPM Capital. Proceeds from the round will support the development of Cerecor's lead product candidate CERC-301, a first-in-class, oral, selective NR2B inhibitor in Phase 2 development as a once-a-day adjunctive therapy for severe MDD (major depressive disorder) with a rapid onset of action, and its catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitor platform for various conditions characterized by impairment of executive function and working memory.
"This financing enables Cerecor to continue to advance our compounds in nervous system disorders, including completion of Phase 2 development of CERC-301, which has the potential to save lives for patients experiencing major depressive disorder with suicidal ideation. We are building on intravenous ketamine's extensive clinical experience with a more selective and specific oral agent that has the potential for improved safety," said Blake M. Paterson, MD, Cerecor co-founder and CEO. "We are honored to have an outstanding group of investors who share our vision and are providing the funding to enable us to move both CERC-301 and our COMT platform forward."
"Cerecor is committed to developing neuroscience compounds that could truly make a difference in patients' lives, and this financing brings together an international group of investors committed to advancing the Company's lead product candidate, CERC-301," said Jim Barrett, General Partner of NEA. "In an early clinical study conducted at the NIMH, CERC-301 demonstrated its potential for rapid onset of antidepressant effect, which would address a key unmet need for patients with depression. The Company has made outstanding progress in the last twelve months on this program."
The Cerecor Board of Directors now consists of: Sol Barer, PhD, former Chairman and CEO at Celgene; James Barrett, PhD, General Partner at NEA; Eugene Bauer, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Director at Dermira; Isaac Blech, Cerecor Co-founder; Luke Evnin, PhD, Managing Director at MPM Capital; Magnus Persson, MD, PhD, Director, Scandinavian Node at Karolinska Institute; Behshad Sheldon, Venture Partner at Apple Tree Partners; Mayukh Sukhatme, MD, Partner at Apple Tree Partners; Frank Torti, MD, Principal at NEA; and Blake Paterson, MD, Co-founder, President and CEO of Cerecor.
Cary Sucoff and John Catsimatidis have stepped down from Cerecor's Board of Directors. "We would like to thank Cary and John for their years of service in helping to establish Cerecor as a leader in the development of innovative neuroscience drugs to make a difference in the lives of patients with major unmet medical needs," said Dr. Paterson.
CERC-301 is a novel and selective antagonist of the NMDA receptor subunit 2B. It has the potential to be a first-in-class oral medication that is complimentary to existing treatments, with a rapid onset of action, in patients with depression and recent suicidal ideation who have not adequately responded to their current therapy. These therapies are often limited by modest response rates, poor remission rates, slow onset of action and problematic side effects. Cerecor is conducting a 135 subject, placebo-controlled Phase 2 study of CERC-301 in this indication with results expected by year-end 2014.
Cerecor Inc. ("Cerecor") is a Baltimore-based biopharmaceutical company developing innovative treatments to make a difference in the lives of patients suffering from neuropsychiatric diseases by addressing the unmet medical needs of underserved patient segments. We are committed to the development of drugs that improve lives by applying our extensive knowledge and experience in central nervous system disorders. www.cerecor.com
About New Enterprise Associates
NEA is a leading venture capital firm focused on helping entrepreneurs build transformational businesses across multiple stages, sectors and geographies. Since its founding in 1977, the firm has helped to build many world-class companies, leading to more than 180 IPOs and 300+ acquisitions.
About Apple Tree Partners
Apple Tree Partners (ATP) is a venture capital firm that invests in pharmaceuticals, biotech, medtech, and healthcare services. Founded in 1999, with a history of well-known successes, ATP closed its current capital pool of $1.5 billion in 2012 and is actively funding healthcare innovation.
About MPM Capital
MPM Capital is one of the world's largest life science dedicated venture investors. With committed capital under management in excess of $2 billion, MPM Capital is uniquely structured to invest globally in healthcare innovation.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains "forward-looking statements." All statements that are not historical facts are hereby identified as forward-looking statements for this purpose and include, among others, statements relating to the potential benefits and safety of CERC-301. Forward-looking statements are based upon management's current expectations and beliefs and are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those indicated herein including, among others, risks and uncertainties relating to the completion and outcome of clinical trials. While Cerecor may update certain forward-looking statements from time to time, it specifically disclaims any obligation to do so, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements.