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Bruce Montgomery’s New Startup, Cardeas Pharma, Raises $5M

Xconomy Seattle — 

Bruce Montgomery, the prominent Seattle biotech entrepreneur, has raised $5 million for his latest startup, Xconomy has learned.

Cardeas Pharma has pulled in $5 million in equity financing, in the first of two planned closings, Montgomery said in an e-mail. The syndicate is being led by Novo Ventures, and includes San Diego-based Avalon Ventures, Seattle-based WRF Capital, and Wayne, PA-based Devon Park Bioventures, according to Thong Le, a managing director with WRF Capital. The deal will be worth $7.5 million to Cardeas once the second part of the financing is complete, Le says.

The company plans to use the money to run both preclinical experiments and initial clinical trials of what Montgomery calls “a novel therapeutic to be used in hospitals.” Montgomery, who said he is traveling in Europe, didn’t immediately respond to a request for more information about where the drug comes from, and what disease it is being designed to treat. But Le says Cardeas is licensing technology for a drug/device combo from a company Montgomery used to work with. Montgomery, whose track record includes stints at Gilead Sciences, Corus Pharma, and PathoGenesis, is joined in the new venture by chief operating officer Melissa Yeager, a regulatory affairs expert he worked with at his last three companies.

“They are tried-and-true entrepreneurs who have worked together before and have had some good successes,” Le says.

Montgomery has been scoping out this next move since August 2010, when he left his job as senior vice president of respiratory therapeutics at the Seattle branch of Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD). At Gilead, Montgomery oversaw the development and FDA approval of aztreonam lysine (Cayston) as a new inhalable antibiotic for patients with cystic fibrosis. That program was started by Seattle-based Corus Pharma, which Montgomery founded and sold to Gilead for $365 million in 2006. Montgomery, a pulmonologist by training, previously developed another inhalable antibiotic for cystic fibrosis at Seattle-based PathoGenesis, which was acquired by Chiron for $700 million in 2000.

Cardeas Pharma reported in a regulatory filing back in February that it had raised $1 million in equity financing from a group of 18 investors.

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