Renovis Inc. completed a $34.3 million second round of financing, which will enable the company to continue building its infrastructure focused on diseases of the central nervous system, neuropathic pain, feeding disorders and psychiatric disorders.
“It’s wonderful,” President and CEO Corey Goodman said. “It will enable us to build our first franchise area, which is in nerve regrowth for spinal cord injury and other areas of brain trauma and degeneration.
“It will also allow us to strengthen our programs in neuropathic pain and obesity in Type II diabetes, as well as in psychiatric disorders,” Goodman said.
Goodman expects the money to take Renovis, of South San Francisco, through the next two years, although he also anticipates additional funding from potential corporate partnerships, other alliances and grant funds. The privately held company has raised about $50 million since its inception in January 2000.
Renovis focuses on the neuronal cell types and circuits that control particular behaviors or influence specific neurological or psychiatric diseases. Using its Living Library, a collection of transgenic mice, NeuroGene and NeuroAssay technologies, the company validates potential drug targets by mapping them to circuits and indications. It then uses functional assessment both in vitro and in vivo to move targets to high-throughput screens for leads and drug discovery.
Schizophrenia and depression are the two psychiatric disorders on which Renovis is focused.
“We have new targets for obesity, but it sequences beautifully into metabolic diseases and so the focus is really on the central nervous system and its control of feeding disorders and the relationship of feeding disorders with metabolic diseases,” Goodman said.
All of Renovis’ work is in the preclinical stage, but Goodman said he expects the company to file an investigational new drug application with the FDA in 2002 or 2003 to move its work on spinal cord injury and nerve regeneration into the clinic.
Renovis named Goodman as president and CEO in August. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 22, 2001.)
Goodman co-founded Exelixis Inc., of South San Francisco. Renovis got seed financing from Edward Penhoet, a Renovis co-founder and the former CEO and co-founder of Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif. Penhoet now serves as chairman of Renovis, in addition to serving as the dean of the School of Public Health at the University of California at Berkeley.
Leading the round of financing for Renovis was HBM BioVentures AG, of Zurich, Switzerland. Other new investors included Applied Genomic Technology Capital Funds, of Boston; Bioveda Capital, of Singapore; De Novo Ventures, of Menlo Park, Calif.; International BM Biomedicine Holdings Ltd., of New York, as advised by Global Biomedical Partners; Vertex Management & Double Helix, of Singapore; and Yasuda Enterprise Development Co. Ltd., of Tokyo.
Also participating were previous investors Venrock Associates, of New York; Alta Partners, of San Francisco; and Skyline Ventures, of Palo Alto, Calif.