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GEN News Highlights : Jul 8, 2010

iPierian Secures $22M to Bolster iPSC-Based Drug Discovery

Initial focus is on neurodegenerative diseases, while metabolic disease program will be partnered.

iPierian, a company using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) for drug discovery, closed a $22 million Series B equity financing. The money will allow the company to drive its programs into the clinic while securing pharmaceutical partnerships.

“The company has created a remarkable opportunity to integrate massive amounts of imaging, genomic, molecular, and clinical data in a way that will dramatically improve the drug discovery and development process,” according to Krishna Yeshwant, M.D., partner at Google Ventures, which was one of the new investors for this round. Dr. Yeshwant will join the iPierian board of directors.

The Series B funding brings the total amount of equity capital raised by iPierian to $54 million since its inception in 2007. The company is developing and applying cellular reprogramming and differentiation technologies to harness the power of pluripotent stem cells for the discovery and development of small molecules or biologics.

Its initial focus is on neurodegenerative diseases including spinal muscular atrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Parkinson disease. In addition, iPierian has a therapeutic program intended for partnering in metabolic disease.