Hydra garners $22M for ion channel programs

Cambridge, MA-based Hydra Biosciences has lined up a new injection of venture capital to fuel its first clinical trial. The developer will announce later this morning that MedImmune Ventures led a $22.2 million Series D round, joining a group of existing backers that includes Advanced Technology Ventures, Abingworth, Polaris, BioVenture Investors, Biogen-Idec Ventures, and Lilly Ventures.

"Our research is focused on Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) ion channels, discovered around 11 years ago in humans," Hydra CEO Russell Herndon tells FierceBiotech. The TRP channels offer a much better target than the sodium and calcium channels regulated by several existing therapies, he says, because it's easier to block the specific channel you're aiming for without accidentally blocking other channels--triggering potential side effects.

Hydra researchers will initially get into the clinic with a program for pain, and the company plans additional work in inflammation, hypertension and pulmonary diseases. After getting their first program through early-stage development, Herndon says that the biotech plans to partner it out to a big pharma company that's equipped to advance and eventually tackle the market.

"We look at pain as a way to bring in partnering revenue," says Herndon. "We can't bring it forward ourselves, but we can partner with larger pharma partners." We'll have more on the company in next week's Emerging Drug Developer profile.

- here's Hydra's release

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