Cempra of Chapel Hill raises $46 million

Staff WriterMay 14, 2009 

Cempra Pharmaceuticals, a tiny Chapel Hill company developing new antibiotics, announced this morning it has raised $46 million in venture capital financing.

The company was founded in 2006 and employs 12. The latest funding brings Cempra's total venture financing to $78.4 million.

The latest venture round is one of the largest venture hauls by a Triangle company in the past year. Venture financing has slowed amid the economic recession and stock market slump.

Cempra will use the money to continue clinical testing of its leading product, an experimental antibiotic aimed at treating drug-resistant infections. A second drug is being developed as a treatment for skin infections, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

Both drugs still require years of clinical tests before Cempra can seek regulatory approval.

Chief executive Prabhavathi Fernandes is a microbiologist who was involved in developing clarithromycin, a popular antibiotic used for sinus infections, bronchitis and pneumonia.

alan.wolf@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4572.

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