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GEN News Highlights : Sep 8, 2010

iPierian Ups Series B Financing Total to $28M

Company is using induced pluripotent stem cells for drug discovery.

iPierian reports the second closing of its Series B equity financing, bringing the total amount raised to $28 million. The company uses patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) for drug discovery.

Its initial focus is on neurodegenerative diseases including spinal muscular atrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Parkinson disease. iPierian is also working on calcific aortic valve disease through its collaboration with the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease. The company plans to further expand into cardiovascular and metabolic diseases through additional partnerships.

The iPierian approach begins by selecting a patient population to represent a disease. The company's iPSCs associate genotype with disease and are associated with contextual information that includes the pathology, medical history, and demographics directly associated with the patients within each disease cohort.

The firm’s platform reprograms skin cells from these patients into iPSCs and then differentiates these iPSCs into functional disease-relevant cells. These disease-relevant cells are then used to identify new targets and develop new drug candidates.

SR One, Biogen Idec New Ventures, and additional undisclosed investors participated in the current Series B closing. SR One is the corporate venture capital arm of GlaxoSmithKline. Since 1985, it has reportedly invested in more than 135 companies. New Ventures has a commitment of $200 million for strategic investments in emerging biotech companies.