Funding to Support Clinical Research of Promising Narcolepsy Drug, Other Products
Rex Health Ventures Announces Inaugural Investment in N.C. Firm, Aerial BioPharma
<0> Rex HealthcareAlan M. Wolf, 919-784-4467 </0>
Rex Health Ventures, one of the nation’s only venture-capital funds managed by a community, nonprofit hospital, is pleased to announce its first investment, a $500,000 equity placement in Aerial BioPharma.
Aerial, a Morrisville, N.C.-based company, was formed in January 2011 by a team of successful, veteran biopharmaceutical entrepreneurs. Aerial’s investigational narcolepsy treatment is currently in Phase 2 clinical trials, and initial data shows promise for controlling the symptoms of the chronic, neurological sleep disorder.
In addition to providing the financial investment, Rex may use its five sleep centers across Wake County as clinical trial sites for future studies of Aerial’s narcolepsy drug.
“This is precisely why we created Rex Health Ventures and Rex Strategic Innovations: to find and support promising companies with exciting products that could improve the lives of thousands of patients,” said Rex President David Strong. “We look forward to a long and successful relationship with the very capable team at Aerial.”
Rex Health Ventures’ investment is part of an initial $3.8 million equity financing, which Aerial will use for further clinical studies, as well as to pay for research and drug manufacturing. Other participants in the funding round include a group of experienced angel investors based in Chattanooga, Tenn., led by Dr. David Adair, and 3G Capital, led by Rakesh Govindji.
Aerial also is developing an early-stage biologic to treat acute and chronic pain, a product licensed from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Aerial was started by the management team behind Addrenex Pharmaceuticals and Neuronex, two successful Triangle-based start-up companies. The team includes CEO, Dr. Moise A. Khayrallah, President Steve Butts, and Dr. Gary Bream, executive vice president of Clinical Affairs.
“Partnering with Rex Health Ventures, which provides access to the resources of a premier healthcare provider like Rex Healthcare, is a unique opportunity for a company like ours,” Khayrallah said. “We look forward to tapping into Rex’s network and expertise as we continue clinical work that will lead to new treatments.”
Rex Health Ventures is part of the broader initiative known as Rex Strategic Innovations that has the mission of spurring healthcare innovation, improving healthcare delivery and services, and fostering job creation. The fund was started in the spring with an initial $10 million investment from Rex Healthcare.
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Rex Healthcare, a member of UNC Health Care, is a private, not-for-profit health care system with more than 5,300 co-workers. Rex Healthcare has 660 beds (433 general acute beds and 227 skilled nursing) and treats nearly 34,000 inpatients each year. Rex offers dedicated centers for cancer, surgery, heart and vascular, post-acute rehabilitation and skilled nursing care, wellness and women’s care plus dedicated services for bariatric, heartburn, pain management, sleep disorders, diabetes education, wound and emergency care. Rex’s medical staff includes more than 1,100 physicians and 1,700 nurses. Rex provides various health care services throughout Wake County with facilities in Apex, Cary, Garner, Holly Springs, Knightdale, Wakefield and downtown Raleigh. Rex was the first hospital in the Triangle to receive Magnet Recognition, placing Rex nurses among the top 6 percent in the nation. Rex was named one of the top 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare by magazine in 2008, 2009 and 2011, and was highlighted as one of the Top 50 Hospitals in the U.S. by in 2011. Visit for more information.
Aerial BioPharma is a development stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing biologics and small molecules for conditions in the Central Nervous System. Aerial is a privately held company, founded in January 2011 by the management team from Addrenex Pharmaceuticals and Neuronex, two successful start-up companies founded in the RTP region of North Carolina. Aerial currently an exciting drug-development pipeline, including treatments for narcolepsy and acute and chronic pain. Aerial has eight permanent employees at its headquarters, located at 9001 Aerial Center Parkway, Suite 110, Morrisville, NC 27560. Visit for more information.