RALEIGH, NC – Rex Health Ventures, the venture capital fund set up by Rex Healthcare in April, has made its first investment – $500,000 in Morrisville-based Aerial BioPharma.
Aerial, led by CEO Dr. Moise A. Khayrallah, President Steve Butts and Executive Vice President of Clinical Affairs Dr. Gary Bream, is developing a narcolepsy treatment currently in Phase II clinical trials.
This is not the first time this leadership group has developed something they are excited about. Already, they have made two successful exits, one for Addrenex Pharmacuticals, the other for Neuronex Inc.
For Addrenex Pharmacuticals, the group raised $700,000 and returned $29 million to shareholders after a licensing deal with Shionogi Inc., based in Florham Park, N.J., for the hypertension treatment.
More recently, the team reached a deal to sell Neuronex Inc., which was developing an epilepsy treatment, to Acordia Therapeutics Inc., based in Ardsley, N.Y. In that transaction, the group raised $4 million and expect to sell for $105 million.
The Rex investment is part of an initial $3.8 million equity financing for aerial, which has filed with federal regulators to raise up to $12 million. With the investment from Rex, the five sleep centers in Wake County are being used as clinical trial sites for Aerial studies on the narcolepsy drug.
“This is precisely why we created Rex Health Ventures and Rex Strategic Innovations: to find and support promising companies with exciting products that could improve the lives of thousands of patients,” said Rex President David Strong in a news release.
Aerial also is developing an early stage biologic to treat acute and chronic pain, a product licensed from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but this drug is not nearly as far along in the process as the narcolepsy treatment.