Washington Editor

Saegis Pharmaceuticals Inc. raised $30 million in a Series B private equity financing.

Founded in 1999, the privately held company located in Half Moon Bay, Calif., develops products for disorders of the brain and central nervous system. In its Series A financing completed in 2001, Saegis (formerly David Pharmaceuticals) raised $14 million.

Funds from the Series B will help the company complete two Phase II trials; one testing SGS742 in mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease patients, the other testing SGS518 in cognitive impairment associated with schizophrenia, said Rodney Pearlman, company president and CEO.

SGS742, the lead candidate, was licensed from Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland, while SGS518 was discovered and licensed from Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co.

As for Saegis' success in raising $30 million during tough financial times, Pearlman told BioWorld Today: "It took quite a long time to raise the money, but we are very excited to be able to pursue our clinical goals. We are a product-focused company, and the challenge for us is being able to raise enough money to continue our studies in the clinic."

Pearlman declined to give a time period on how long the money is expected to last.

The financing was led by Versant Ventures, of Menlo Park, Calif. Joining in the round as a new investor was Technology Partners, of Palo Alto, Calif. Also participating were Series A investors, including Sofinnova Ventures Inc., of San Francisco; Sofinnova Partners, of Paris; Polaris Venture Partners Inc., of Seattle; and NeuroVentures Capital LLC, of Charlottesville, Va.

In conjunction with the financing, Brian Atwood, a co-founder and managing director of Versant Ventures, and Roger Guy, a partner at Technology Partners, will join privately held Saegis' board.