Upstart biotech attracts A-list investors

An upstart biotech company focused on developing new therapies targeted at the genetic variations linked to dry age-related macular degeneration has raised $37 million in its first round. New Haven, CT-based Optherion is banking on scientific research that has unveiled the role of variations in the CFH and CFB genes in AMD. Variations in the CFH gene are linked to half of all patients and a combination of variations in the CFH and CFB genes are associated with almost three out of every four cases. Researchers will also work on a new therapy for Dense Deposit Disease, an end-stage renal disease with an orphan-sized market that is triggered by the same genetic variations they're targeting for AMD. The company attracted some marquee names in biotech, including Domain Associates, J&J Development Corp., Biogen Idec and Pappas Ventures.

- see the release on the first round

ALSO: The stem cell company Osiris Therapeutics has secured $30 million in new financing. "This transaction, along with our current cash position and existing financing vehicles, gives us greater flexibility as we advance our Phase III clinical programs toward market launch," said Osiris CFO Cary Claiborne. Release

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