USM Maryland Momentum Fund Portfolio Company Veralox Therapeutics Announces $16 Million in New Investment
Company Led by University of Maryland Graduate Jeff Strovel Shows Continued Growth after Receiving Seed Funding from Maryland Momentum Fund and Other Investors in 2019
Baltimore, Md. (June 23, 2021) -- Veralox Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing small molecule therapeutics to treat the underlying causes of diseases that have significant unmet medical needs, today announced the closing of a new round of funding – a $16 million Series A financing. Investors in the new financing include Sanofi Ventures, Genesys Capital, Hatteras Venture Partners, JDRF T1D Fund, Point Field Partners, VTC Innovation Fund, University System of Maryland (USM) Momentum Fund, and TEDCO. Maryland Momentum Fund was among the first investors in Veralox with a $500,000 seed funding investment in 2019.
“We are very pleased to have the Maryland Momentum Fund as a returning investor,” said Jeffrey Strovel, PhD, chief executive officer of Veralox Therapeutics. “Early on, the Momentum Fund team saw the potential of our unique approach in drug development and the strength of our platform. Their support, which has also included connections to potential partners and strategic counsel, has contributed our success.”
In January, Veralox submitted an Investigational New Drug (IND) application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for initiation of a Phase 1 clinical trial of VLX-1005 for the treatment of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT), a condition that can lead to low platelet counts. HIT arises from an aberrant immune response to the medication heparin. Currently, one third of hospitalized patients in the U.S., or about 12 million a year, receive heparin for anti-coagulation prior to surgery. The company also announced that VLX-1005 was awarded Orphan Drug Designation by the FDA in this indication.
“Veralox’s progress to date is very encouraging,” said Claire Broido Johnson, managing director of the Maryland Momentum Fund. “The company has successfully delivered on its plans thus far and we are pleased to continue our support alongside several other experienced therapeutics investors.”
“In the short time since our initial investment in the seed funding round, Veralox has matured into a clinical-stage company,” said Katie Ellias, managing director of the JDRF T1D Fund. “The company’s innovative approach targets a novel pathway to inhibit beta cell stress and has the potential to become a disease modifying therapy for a range of diseases and conditions including type 1 diabetes (T1D). We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Veralox and welcome the new investors to this important effort.”
“Veralox is working to solve an important problem in life sciences, and we are happy to play a small part in what is a notoriously long path to market,” said Jack Miner, TEDCO’s chief investment officer. “We also appreciate the role that other investors are playing in Veralox and look forward to seeing the technology advance.”
About Veralox Therapeutics
VERALOX Therapeutics Inc. (https://veralox.com/) is developing first-in-class therapeutics that target the underlying pathologies of diseases with unmet medical needs. The company’s lead candidate, VLX-1005, will be developed initially to treat patients with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT). Second generation therapeutic products are under development for T1D and other immune-mediated and inflammatory diseases.
VLX-1005 is a first-in-class and selective small molecule inhibitor 12-Lipoxygenase, a key target within the arachidonic acid pathway. Preclinical data has demonstrated that VLX-1005 halts immune driven platelet activation and thrombosis thus offering the potential of a lifesaving treatment for patients with HIT.
About the USM Momentum Fund
The Maryland Momentum Fund is an initiative of the University System of Maryland (USM) to provide late seed investment funding for promising technology ventures that come out of any of the 12 constituent USM institutions, its research parks, and its students, faculty, or graduates. With a $10M commitment from the USM already in place, the Fund co-invests with venture capitalists, foundations, and angel investors.
The Maryland Momentum Fund was established by the USM Board of Regents to support promising commercial opportunities arising from advances in research and intellectual property at USM campuses, and its portfolio companies include: MF Fire, NextStep Robotics, the North American Wave Engine Corporation, Zest Tea, PaverGuide, Retrium, Veralox Therapeutics, Gemstone Biotherapeutics, Neoprogen, Minnowtech, ARMR Systems, Infercabuary, Datakwip, pathOtrak, KaloCyte, MiRecule, N5 Sensors, VisiSonics, Voxy EngGen, Dynamhex, TargetDocs, and Qualytics. The Fund is designed to create returns and support USM’s most innovative ideas as they enter the marketplace. Learn more at https://momentum.usmd.edu/.
TEDCO, the Maryland Technology Development Corporation, enhances economic empowerment growth through the fostering of an inclusive entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem. TEDCO identifies, invests in, and helps grow technology and life science-based companies in Maryland. Learn more at www.tedcomd.com.
About JDRF T1D Fund
The JDRF T1D Fund (https://t1dfund.org/) is a venture philanthropy fund accelerating life-changing solutions to cure, prevent and treat type 1 diabetes (T1D) through catalytic equity investments. Through its investments in partnership with private capital, including venture capital, corporations and foundations, the T1D Fund seeks to attract the private investment necessary to advance therapeutics, devices, diagnostics and vaccines into the hands of those living with T1D. The T1D Fund invests in areas strategically aligned with JDRF, the leading global organization funding T1D research, with an exclusive focus on supporting the best commercial opportunities. The T1D Fund reinvests any realized gains into new investments to further its mission.
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Contact – Veralox
Jeffrey Strovel, CEO
Contact – TEDCO
Tammi Thomas, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer
Contact: Mike Lurie