NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Merganser Biotech today announced the signing of an option to license a novel class of hepcidin mimetic peptides that have been discovered in the laboratory of Professor Tomas Ganz and Dr. Elizabeta Nemeth at UCLA. The Company will evaluate these novel peptides as potential therapeutics for the treatment of beta thalassemia and other diseases associated with iron overload. Coincident with the signing of this option agreement the company has also obtained funding from a consortium that includes BioAdvance, the Biotechnology Greenhouse of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and individual investors. In connection with this financing Colin Goddard, Ph.D. formerly CEO of OSI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has been appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to build on such a strong body of research by two pioneers in the field of hepcidin biology and iron metabolism,” said Brian MacDonald MB, ChB, Ph.D., CEO of Merganser Biotech. “Hepcidin mimetics may have significant advantages over conventional chelation therapy for a group of rare and serious diseases that are associated with excess accumulation of iron in the body. With our significant experience in the formulation and development of peptide therapeutics we believe we are strongly positioned to move these compounds into the clinic.”
Dr. MacDonald added, “We are pleased to have someone with Colin’s experience assume the chairman role of our board. Colin’s extensive science and business experience in building companies will be an asset to our Board and beneficial to Merganser’s future growth.”
“Merganser seeks to achieve the largely virtual development of peptide mimetics around the accomplished and experienced leadership of Brian and his team,” commented Dr. Goddard. “We believe the hepcidin project, with its relatively advanced starting point in a disease area with a high unmet need, is an ideal initial program for the company as we seek to establish a high quality portfolio of similar opportunities.”
About Dr. Colin Goddard. Dr. Colin Goddard has served on the Human Genomic Sciences Board of Directors since 2010. Dr. Goddard also serves as Executive Chairman of the Board of Coferon, Inc. and is a board member of PanOptica. Dr. Goddard is the former Chief Executive Officer of OSI Pharmaceuticals where he joined the Company as a scientist in 1989. He advanced through a series of senior management positions with increasing responsibility in drug discovery, research and corporate operations before being named Chief Executive Officer in 1998. Dr. Goddard served as a director of OSI from 1998 and served as Chairman of the OSI Board from 2000 to 2002. He led the transition of OSI from a technology platform services company into a profitable fully integrated biopharmaceutical company. Prior to joining OSI, Dr. Goddard spent four years at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD. He trained as a cancer pharmacologist in Birmingham, U.K. and received his Ph.D. from the University of Aston, Birmingham, U.K.
About Merganser Biotech, Inc.
Merganser Biotech is a largely virtual, development only company focused on the licensing and development of early stage, novel peptidyl therapeutic approaches to the treatment of human diseases. Its lead project is the development of hepcidin mimetic peptides for the treatment of iron overload in diseases such as beta thalassemia and hemochromatosis. Led by experienced biopharmaceutical executives and having received funding from BioAdvance and angel investors, Merganser intends to advance this program into clinical development.
Through its Greenhouse Fund, BioAdvance, has committed $20 million in 49 life science start-up companies and academic technologies. BioAdvance investments have enabled its portfolio companies to leverage $1.4 billion in follow-on capital and M&A valuations. To date, seven BioAdvance portfolio companies have been acquired and an eighth has gone public (Nupathe:PATH). The BioAdvance portfolio companies are developing 60 products to treat diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and infectious diseases.
For more information or to apply for funding please visit www.bioadvance.com.