By Matthew Willett

NeuroMed Technologies Inc. completed its second round of equity financing. The company raised C$17 million (US$11.23 million) for preclinical and early clinical studies.

The Vancouver-based company founded in 1995 focuses on pain and stroke therapeutics, and said it will use the funding to advance its compounds for treatment of stroke, cardiovascular disease and migraines in addition to its pain pipeline.

Until recently, NeuroMed operated as a virtual biotechnology company, hiring consultants and collaborating with scientists.

The placement with institutional investors included GrowthWorks Capital, of Vancouver; MDS Capital, of Toronto; Royal Bank Capital Partners, of Toronto; Trian Equities, of Vancouver; and Future Fund Capital.

NeuroMed's first round of venture financing in November 1998 funded the company's core competency implementation, calcium channel pharmacology, physiology and organic chemistry. That C$5 million placement included current investors MDS Capital, Royal Bank Capital Partners and Working Opportunities Fund Ltd., of Vancouver.

More recently, in June 2000, the company received a C$161,000 grant from the Science Council of British Columbia. NeuroMed said it will use that funding to advance its small-molecule pain and stroke therapeutic programs.

The company intends to file its first investigational new drug application for study of a calcium channel blocker in pain in late 2001, and plans to begin Phase I/II clinical studies in early 2002.

Calcium channel blockers target the trigger mechanism that initiates electrical signals from receptors to the brain. The selective blocking of certain calcium channels in the spinal cord can relieve pain more potently than morphine, the company said, making its small-molecule compounds an alternative treatment to morphine.

The company's pain therapeutic compound is currently in preclinical testing in animal models.

Company officials were unavailable for comment.