Vascular Pharmaceuticals raises $9M

A decade-old Triangle pharmaceutical startup has raised $9 million to continue research into its only experimental drug for the treatment of kidney damage caused by diabetes.

To date Vascular Pharma, which is based in Research Triangle Park, has raised $25 million and says it has no further plans to raise capital under a business plan that calls for Vascular Pharma to be acquired by a Pennsylvania biotechnology company.

Vascular Pharma said Tuesday the investors in the $9 million round included an unnamed investor and Durham-based Intersouth Partners. The money will be used for a Phase 2 clinical trial on 300 patients that is expected to conclude in 2017.

Upon the completion of that drug trial, Vascular Pharma has granted an exclusive right to Horsham, Penn.-based Janssen Biotech to acquire Vascular Pharma.

The Phase 1 clinical trial demonstrated the drug’s safety on healthy volunteers, the company said.

Vascular Pharma, with full-time 2 employees and about 10 part-time contractors, was founded in 2005 based on research conducted at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

Vascular Pharma’s drug, VPI-2690B, is designed to slow the cellular damage that leads to kidney destruction. The company says its compound can slow, or perhaps even stop, the progression of diabetic nephropathy.

Current treatments are based on optimizing blood pressure, rather than intervening in cellular function.

Murawski: 919-829-8932