GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Sept. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Tetra Discovery Partners, a leader in the design of new therapeutics for major neurological conditions based on PDE4 modulation in the brain, today announced it has closed a $1,041,000 seed investment led by Grand Angels, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based investment group.
The investment in Tetra includes funding from Grand Angels and the Biosciences Research & Commercialization Center (BRCC), which invests in promising, Michigan-based life sciences ventures, and the Michigan PreSeed Capital Fund. It also includes funding from the Michigan Emerging Technology Fund as a match to the recent $3 million Phase II SBIR award Tetra received from the National Institute of Mental Health. The investment will support Tetra’s efforts to develop an innovative drug to treat cognitive impairment caused by Alzheimer’s disease, and a second drug to treat depression and restore cognitive function in patients who have suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI).
“We are pleased that Grand Angels led the seed round for Tetra, and we look forward to the increased momentum this investment provides,” said Mark Gurney, Ph.D., Tetra’s founder and CEO. “Our partnership will not only help to fund our key research and commercialization objectives, but the strategic connections and counsel that Grand Angels provides will accelerate Tetra’s work on behalf of the millions of people suffering the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease, depression and traumatic brain injury, for which there are no effective treatments.”
“Grand Angels is very pleased to have led this investment in one of Michigan’s most innovative businesses,” said Jody Vanderwel, Grand Angels President. “Mark and the Tetra team are changing the face of Alzheimer’s research and working on some truly industry-changing breakthroughs right here in Grand Rapids.
“As of July 2013, we have invested nearly $12.5 million in 26 entrepreneurial companies. This latest opportunity with Tetra is a perfect example of how Grand Angels is able to make an important and potentially transformative impact through the funding and strategic support that we provide.”
Tetra’s research focuses on designing drugs that inhibit phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4), a key enzyme in the brain that controls the biochemical process of memory. The company works closely with the NIH Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network, a $50 million program across 15 NIH Institutes and Centers that support drug discovery research collaborations with early stage biotechnology companies and academics to develop effective therapeutics for nervous system disorders. The Blueprint Neurotherapeutics team of skilled industry drug discovery and development consultants has been pivotal in helping Tetra to develop a drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
About Tetra Discovery Partners
Based in Grand Rapids, Mich., Tetra Discovery Partners (http://www.tetradiscovery.com) uses structure-guided drug design to discover mechanistically novel, allosteric inhibitors of phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4). The Company’s research focuses on developing new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), depression and traumatic brain injury (TBI). In addition to its NIH Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network cooperative research agreement, the Company has been the recipient of both NIH/NIMH Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Michigan Emerging Technologies Fund awards. The Company’s founder, Dr. Mark Gurney, was recently named one of two leading inventors globally in the creation of Alzheimer’s disease treatments by Griffith Hack, a leading Australia-based intellectual property law firm, following the analysis of nearly 50,000 patents for the treatment of Alzheimer’s.
About Grand Angels
Grand Angels is committed to using its financial, intellectual, and networking capital to foster the success of emerging companies and to enhance the economic development of West Michigan. Grand Angels makes investments that have a positive effect on our region through business growth, job creation, and the attraction and retention of local talent.
In addition to investing in primarily early stage companies, Grand Angels continues to be very active in its effort to create a climate for the success of entrepreneurs in West Michigan. Many of its members have served on panels, judged pitch competitions, and mentored entrepreneurs through organizations including the Accelerate Michigan competition, Hope Entrepreneurship Initiative, and Grand Valley State University Seidman College of Business Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. www.grandangels.org.
SOURCE Tetra Discovery Partners
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A regional co-investment fund specializing in angel and early stage private equity.