A few months after starting operations, Hamilton Pharmaceuticals Inc. completed its first financing round, raising $11 million to advance its lead compound in neuropsychiatric indications and in-license additional product candidates.

The specialty pharmaceutical company, which opened its corporate headquarters in Washington two months ago, was formed late last year after licensing its first investigational compound, HL-0812, from a foreign pharmaceutical company, said CEO Thomas Chase.

"We saw an extraordinary opportunity," he told BioWorld Today, and "we just couldn't resist starting up this company to work on that product."

Hamilton Pharmaceuticals plans to initiate a Phase IIb study of HL-0812 at the start of the third quarter for the treatment of neuropsychiatric complications in post-stroke patients. Chase said that would be a new indication for the compound, which has been tested in "extensive trials" for other indications, and has been proven safe and well tolerated.

The Phase IIb trial will be designed to "re-profile" the compound and to determine whether researchers can replicate data from previous trials that had demonstrated neuropsychiatric treatment in secondary data. The company also will consider pursuing the compound in other neurological and psychiatric indications.

Chase described Hamilton Pharmaceuticals as a "product-based specialty company" that focuses on licensing concepts from the neuroscience field and developing new treatments for central nervous system diseases.

"There are many product concepts and entities that are awaiting translation into clinical practice," he said. The company's plan is to take "those products that look most promising, and are in areas where the medical need is greatest, and developing them."

Proceeds from the financing round also will be use to add other compounds to the clinical pipeline, and the company has its eyes open.

"We've lined up several possibilities for the treatment of Parkinson's disease," Chase said, as well as possible in-licensing candidates for epilepsy, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis.

Hamilton Pharmaceuticals has about five people working for the company, though that number should grow over the next few years.

"This is a field that cries out for new products," Chase said, adding that most patients suffering from neurological or psychiatric diseases are medically underserved. With the advancements in neuroscience, the company is "trying to translate product concepts from the laboratory bench into the patients, and make them available as widely as possible."

Founding investors Vivo Ventures LLC, of Palo Alto, Calif., and CNF Investments LLC, an affiliate of Bethesda, Md.-based Clark Enterprises Inc., participated in the Series A financing, along with new investors Index Ventures, of Geneva. Graziano Seghezzi of Index joined the company's board.