Cerenis lands $65M for mid-stage cholesterol drug program

Cerenis Therapeutics has nailed down $51.5 million in the first close of its Series C round, fueling the developer's mid-stage clinical trial for its lead cholesterol therapy and positioning the biotech for a potential regulatory submission in a little more than two years. Cerenis and Novasep, a contract manufacturer, simultaneously announced €10.7 million in funding from the French government for the lead drug program.  

The latest round brings back a familiar group of venture backers which have contributed a total of $138 million in the company, which was launched by a group of Esperion Therapeutics execs and is based in Ann Arbor and France. And Crain's Detroit Business reports that a second close of the Series C could come later this year.

Cerenis lead drug is CER-001, an experimental therapy for boosting levels of 'good' cholesterol, a tonic for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. The biotech's international research teams believe that CER-001 has the potential to rapidly regress atherosclerotic plaque.

In the latest round €20 million came from the Fund for Strategic Investment with an additional €20 million coming from the existing investors: Sofinnova Partners, HealthCap, Alta Partners and TVM Capital, EDF Ventures, OrbiMed and DAIWA Corporate Investment. Jean-Pierre Garnier, former CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, will join the Cerenis board of directors as a non-executive director and will be FSI's representative on the board.

- see Cerenis' release on the latest round
- here's a release on the French government's support
- read the story from Crain's Detroit Business on the latest round