Houghten Pharmaceuticals Inc. (HPI) announced Wednesdaythat it has closed its third round of venture capital-backedfinancing. The private company placed $6.6 million inpreferred stock to new and existing investors, led by DomainAssociates and Biotechnology Investments Ltd. (BIL).

HPI of San Diego will use the proceeds from the currentfinancing, which closed Sept. 30, to fund its expanded drugdiscovery and development programs. In particular, thecompany intends to back two promising lead compounds withpotential therapeutic applications in the anti-inflammatoryarea that it has identified through its peptide screeningtechnology, explained Terry Greve, HPI's director of finance.

"The core technology is based on combinatorial libraries ofpeptides or non-peptides," Greve told BioWorld. "Thoselibraries, plus our ability to use analoging techniques, allow usto identify very specific compounds out of a library of up to500 million molecules."

HPI has parlayed its combinatorial screening technology intoseveral agreements with corporate partners AmylinPharmaceuticals Inc., American Cyanamid Co. and Procter &Gamble Co.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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