Allied Minds' SciFluor banks $30M to get into the clinic

SciFluor Chairman William Koster

SciFluor Life Sciences, a graduate of the Allied Minds startup factory, raised $30 million to get its fluorine-based candidates into clinical development.

The company, based in Cambridge, MA, is at work on new formulations of existing compounds, using fluorine to improve safety, efficacy or ease of administration. The latest funding--courtesy of Invesco, Woodford Investment Management and parent company Allied Minds--will help SciFluor advance its top prospects, treatments for retinal and neurological diseases.

Leading the way is SF0166, a topical drug designed to combat age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema. Then there's SF0034, a small-molecule therapy that targets the potassium channels KCNQ2/3 to treat epilepsy. Each drug is based on a well-understood compound, the company said, employing fluorine to boost deliverability.

SciFluor plans to use its latest funding round to get its two top candidates into clinical trials, earmarking some funds for its discovery-stage work in ophthalmology, neurology, inflammation and other fields. In tandem with the financing, the company has recruited former Neurogen CEO and Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) exec William Koster to serve as chairman, tasking the industry veteran with helping to steer the next phase of its evolution.

"SciFluor is successfully making the transition to a clinical development company," Koster said in a statement. "The opportunity to place these innovative discoveries into protocols for clinical testing and development is incredibly exciting, and I'm pleased to be a part of the next stage of this company's commercial development."

The company got its start back in 2011, with $5 million from Allied Minds on a license to some Harvard University-developed fluorination technology.

- read the statement