By Brady Huggett
Remedyne Corp. closed its $3.2 million Series A round of financing last week and will use the funds to further the antimicrobial technology the company was founded on, which uses DNA adenine methylase (DAM).
Investors in the round included Sutton Ventures Group and Dlloyd Investments Ltd., both of Houston, and several individuals.
¿This constitutes the first real round of financing,¿ said Krisztina Zsebo, president and CEO of Remedyne. ¿Clearly, it solidifies the financial status of the company so we can hire and recruit the initial research staff to advance the technology.¿
Zsebo said the Series A was meant to ¿get operations going,¿ and said another round is expected in the near future.
¿We intend to go for a $30 million Series B round starting in July,¿ she said. ¿With those funds we would establish a full biotech facility and increase our staff. And it will allow us to initiate our product development program as well.¿
For now, Goleta, Calif.-based Remedyne leases its laboratory space and has eight people on the payroll. Zsebo said she would like to see the company grow to 25 or 30 employees in the next 12 months.
The company was founded in 1999. Mike Mahan, David Low and Robert Sinsheimer, three scientists at the University of California at Santa Barbara, are responsible for the founding technology and licensed it from the university to realize Remedyne.
Jim Dehlsen, who also founded Dehlsen Associates LLC, of Santa Barbara, Calif., was a co-founder of the firm, and Dehlsen Associates contributed early funding for Remedyne, although Zsebo said that Remedyne has paid back the original loan.
The three scientists discovered that DAM, an enzyme in Salmonella, acts as a global regulator for about 37 genes specifically activated when bacteria enter a host and begin to cause disease. When the DAM gene is disabled or overactive it weakens the bacteria¿s ability to cause disease. Remedyne has shown that the immune systems of lab animals vaccinated with DAM mutants can defend against subsequent infection by pathogenic bacterial strains. From this technology, Remedyne produces vaccines, carrier vaccines and antibiotics.
¿The most straightforward applications of the technology are vaccines that are derived from pathogenic organisms that contain DAM,¿ Zsebo said. ¿But we are working on others and will evaluate in preclinical studies which are the most promising.¿
Remedyne is seeking pharmaceutical companies for collaborations with its vaccine products, and Zsebo expects more news on deals in the next couple of months. The company has a small-molecule inhibitor enzyme program that it is looking to partner with the pharmaceutical industry as well. Zsebo took over the helm of Remedyne as its new CEO in mid-May, after holding executive positions at both Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., and Connetics Corp., of Palo Alto, Calif.
¿The first goal is to execute these pharma partnerships, then [to] execute the next round of financing,¿ she said. ¿It goes on from there: Hire a top-quality biotechnology research and technology staff, and then eventually launch some products.¿
As far as products go, she said, look for something in animal health before the company develops drugs for humans.
¿Animal health applications move much more quickly because you can go through your studies in your target species,¿ Zsebo said. ¿We¿ve already completed studies with our vaccines in poultry and we are currently conducting vaccine studies in cattle. So we anticipate the animal health applications will be our first commercial products.¿