Stanley Family Foundation spearheads a $21M round for Heptares

The Stanley Family Foundation has stepped in to co-lead a $21 million venture round for the U.K.'s Heptares, which is preparing to move new treatments for Alzheimer's and schizophrenia into the clinic.

Heptares expects to start a clinical trial for its lead M1 muscarinic receptor agonist later this year. The foundation, which backs the Stanley Medical Research Institute--a big player in the neuroscience field--spearheaded the investment with Clarus. Takeda Ventures also contributed to the round. 

At a minimum, CEO Malcolm Weir told FierceBiotech, the added funding will get the biotech through 2016 and into 2017.

"We have a rich pipeline," he said, "and this money enables us to develop it more broadly, get more molecules into the clinic." A $30 million A round landed in 2009.

Welwyn Garden City, U.K.-based Heptares--a 2009 Fierce 15 company--has been burnishing its reputation as a leader in the G protein-coupled receptors field for several years now, boasting that its structure-based design expertise can be used to go after some hard-to-hit GPCR targets. After starting off with about 20 staffers, the biotech's employee roster has now swelled to about 70, with dozens of outside contractors scattered around the globe offering additional input for its programs. The biotech has a licensing deal with Shire for a program targeting CNS diseases and has struck deals with Takeda, AstraZeneca ($AZN) and the Novartis Option Fund.

Weir added that "we're always talking to people about new deals, and if the right deal comes along, we'll do it."

- here's the press release

Special Report: Heptares Therapeutics - 2009 Fierce 15

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