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Promentis Pharmaceuticals Completes $26M Financing to Advance CNS Drug

Xconomy Wisconsin — 

[Updated 3/31/17, 12:03 pm. See below.Promentis Pharmaceuticals, a Milwaukee-based developer of drugs designed to modify brain chemistry to treat central nervous system disorders, has raised $26 million from investors, the company said Thursday.

The Series C financing round was led by three firms, Promentis said: Aisling Capital and OrbiMed, both based in New York, and Cambridge, MA-based F-Prime Capital Partners. Several previous investors also participated in the round, according to a press release.

Promentis said it plans to use some of the proceeds from the round to advance its lead drug compound through Phase 1 clinical trials and to a Phase 2 “clinical proof of concept.” The company said the compound is designed to engage “system xc-,” a molecular mechanism that regulates brain chemistry by ferrying two amino acids, cysteine and glutamate, into and out of neurons. Chad Beyer, senior vice president of research and development at Promentis, said in an e-mail that his company anticipates it will begin Phase 1 work later this year. [This paragraph has been updated with comments from Promentis.]

Promentis raised nearly $8.8 million in equity funding in October. The $8.8 million is part of the $26 million Series C round, Beyer said, meaning that the amount of new money raised by the company is actually about $17.2 million. That puts the total amount investors have put into Promentis at about $29.2 million, according to past SEC filings. [This paragraph has been updated with comments from Promentis.]

The company said it has added four people to its board of directors as part of the funding round. According to its website, Promentis’s board now has six members.

David Baker and John Mantsch, two biomedical sciences professors at Marquette University, co-founded Promentis in 2007. The company signed an exclusive licensing deal with the University of Montana in 2015, in which Promentis agreed to ship some of its compounds to the university to have them tested there. Richard Bridges, a professor at the school, has himself conducted research on the system xc- mechanism for more than a decade.