Fidelity, J&J back $27.5M round for U.K. respiratory startup

The U.K.'s Pulmocide has pulled down a $27.5 million Series A from a big-name cast of investors, setting out to discover and develop some inhaled drugs for viral and fungal respiratory infections.

Pulmocide's maiden raise united Fidelity Biosciences, SV Life Sciences, Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) Development Corp. and the U.K.'s Imperial Innovations, giving the stealthy company the cash it needs to get rolling on development.

Pulmocide is led by CEO Garth Rapeport and CSO Pete Strong, cofounders of COPD drug developer Respivert, which J&J snatched up in 2010. Now, the pair is targeting respiratory syncytial virus and invasive aspergillosis, two infections with limited treatments and high unmet needs--and with no website, address or paper trail to speak of, Pulmocide is divulging little more than that.

"The Pulmocide team has an extensive track record in the discovery of potent, long-acting medicines for delivery to the lung via the inhaled route of administration," Rapeport said in a statement. "We are gratified to have the support of a leading investor consortium in our efforts to discover highly effective new treatments for life-threatening respiratory tract infections."

Much of that consortium was apparently impressed enough with Respivert and its founders to take another shot at respiratory discovery, as Fidelity, SV and Imperial were backers of Rapeport and Strong's last company. Whether Pulmocide can duplicate that success with a big exit of its own remains to be seen.

- read Imperial Innovations' release