GelTex Pharmaceuticals Inc. has raised $10 million in its second roundof private equity financing, bringing total investments in the Waltham,Mass.-based company to $17.6 million since it was founded two yearsago.GelTex focuses on development of luminal therapies, which are basedon the use of non-absorbable, therapeutic polymers, for selectivelyeliminating substances from the gastrointestinal tract.Mark Skaletsky, GelTex's president and CEO, said the financing willbe used to develop the company's two lead projects, which are aphosphate binder for dialysis patients and a bile-acid sequestrant forreducing cholesterol.Skaletsky said he expects to file an investigational new drugapplication (IND) for the phosphate binder by the end of this year,followed by an IND next year for the bile-acid sequestrant."We're doing this on our own," Skaletsky said. "Our intention is totake our products through clinical trials and market them ourselves.The key is that these are non-absorbable drugs. That's important in thetypes of therapies we're targeting. There aren't as many issues withnon-absorbable products."GelTex is developing polymers that are ingested orally and act assponges in the gastrointestinal tract. After they bind to the targetedsubstances, they are excreted through the digestive system.The phosphate binder is designed to reduce phosphate levels andprevent problems associated with hypercalcemia in patients with renaldisease.The bile-acid sequestrant is used to reduce cholesterol levels in peoplewho can't control their cholesterol through diet. "Existing (cholesterol)therapies have to be given in high doses," Skaletsky said. "We'redeveloping a pill which has much less material."The second round of financing included a new investor, SchroederVentures, of Boston, along with existing investors New EnterpriseAssociates, of Baltimore, Domain Partners, of Princeton, N.J., NorwestVenture Capital, of Minneapolis, PaineWebber R&D Partners, of NewYork, and Abingworth Management Ltd. and of BiotechnologyInvestments Ltd., both of the U.K. _Charles Craig
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