Colorado start-up pockets $21.5M in Series A

The start-up Sierra Neuropharmaceuticals has gained $21.5 million in its Series A round. Sierra, which is based in Colorado, plans to formulate drugs that can be delivered directly to the fluid around the brain in order to provide more effective treatment for severe CNS diseases like epilepsy, depression and schizophrenia. Company officials say that a pump implanted under the skin can deliver the therapies, some reformulated from existing drugs, via a catheter.

"Many current oral therapies are limited in their use due to severe side effects and possible toxicities," says Daniel Abrams, M.D., Sierra's founder, CSO and acting CEO. "For patients, this means they may be denied access to medicines that could otherwise be of great benefit. Even for those drugs that can safely be taken orally, patients often have difficulty maintaining a proper pill regimen and may take only 50-80% of their required dosage. By reformulating existing pharmaceuticals and delivering them via an implanted device, better treatment and new options can be made available to patients."

Co-leads in the funding were HealthCare Ventures, Morgenthaler Ventures, and Sequel Venture Partners. Other investors include High Country Venture and GC&H Investments.

- read Sierra's release