AbbVie, Angel Investors Restock Nanomedicine Leader Chad Mirkin’s Pharma Venture

August 6, 2013
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nano medicine

Originally published on MedCityNews.com.

For a Northwestern University biopharmaceutical spinoff, a second tranche of Series B funding will push along pre-clinical development of gene-regulating therapies for multiple diseases.

nano medicine

Originally published on MedCityNews.com.

For a Northwestern University biopharmaceutical spinoff, a second tranche of Series B funding will push along pre-clinical development of gene-regulating therapies for multiple diseases.

AuraSense Therapeutics isn’t disclosing how much was raised in the second tranche of its Series B, but the company says funding came from AbbVie Inc. and angel investors including David Walt, a co-founder of Illumina, and Craig Mundie, senior advisor to the CEO at Microsoft.

According to SEC filings, AuraSense first secured $5.4 million in Series B funds back in 2011.

The startup is developing a platform for nucleic-acid based therapeutics with applications in oncology, dermatology, neurology and for immune disorders. It says its spherical nucleic acid (SNA) conjugates overcome the greatest obstacles to gene regulation: they don’t need carrier agents, they provoke minimal immune response and they have no known toxicity.

The technology is based on gold nanoparticles, which have also formed the foundation of several other drug companies’ platforms because of their accessibility, versatility and ability to attach easily to other molecules. AuraSense’s differentiator? Its scientific co-founder, Chad Mirkin, is a pioneer in the field of nanomedicine. He developed the first SNA constructs nearly two decades ago and has since founded four companies based on the technology. The FDA-cleared Verigene System, a diagnostic tool used to identify infectious disease and cancers, is based on SNAs.

AuraSense Therapeutics was formed as a subsidiary of another Mirkin company, AuraSense LLC, in 2011. Co-founder C. Shad Thaxton is a faculty member at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine.