West Coast Editor
With its lead compound in Phase I trials, Duke University spin-out Regado Biosciences Inc. raised $20 million in a Series B financing to boost its work in antidote-controlled anti-thrombotics.
The company has enough cash to operate "into the fourth quarter of 2007," said Douglas Gooding, president of Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based Regado.
The company's approach allows for the rational design of drug-antidote pairs against any target accessible to the bloodstream, with the drug consisting of a modified RNA-based aptamer and the antidote made up of an oligonucleotide complementary to it.
"The technology was in development at Duke starting in the late 1990s and early 2000s," Gooding said. Lead product REG1 is an anti-coagulant system for use in coronary revascularization procedures such as coronary artery bypass grafting and percutaneous coronary intervention.
"Open-heart procedures generally are done on a pump, and you need to have the blood sufficiently anti-coagulated," Gooding noted. Then, the anti-coagulation must be reversed, which is where the problem arises.
"There are multiple types of drugs [available now], and they all suffer from the same problems, which is the lack of ability to reverse bleeding," he said. "We know that 400,000 to 500,000 CABG procedures are done annually in the U.S., and in PCI you're talking about more than 1 million in the U.S. annually."
Gooding said the company hopes to have REG1 in Phase II trials by the third or fourth quarter of 2006. The product also might work against deep-vein thrombosis and venous thromboembolism, he said, and Regado plans to keep working exclusively in the acute-care, anti-thrombotic space.
In November 2003, Archemix Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., provided Regado with an exclusive worldwide license for the discovery and development of antidote-controlled aptamers to Regado for undisclosed terms, which Regado needed to go along with the methodology developed at Duke.
Regado's Series B was co-led by Domain Associates of Princeton, N.J., and Quaker BioVentures of Philadelphia. Also participating in the round was Aurora Funds, of Durham, N.C., which provided seed funding for the company and led the $6 million Series A financing in November 2004, as well as individual investors.
Gooding is a venture partner with Aurora, and serves on the boards of Regado, as well as Cropsolution Inc. and Metabolon Inc., also located in Research Triangle Park. Before he joined Aurora, he was director of business development for yet another firm there, Paradigm Genetics Inc. (now Icoria Inc.)
In conjunction with the financing, Jesse Treu, general partner with Domain, and Sherrill Neff, managing partner at Quaker, have joined Regado's board.