Psychiatric Genomics Inc., which develops drugs to treat mental health disorders, looks to close its second round of funding with $25 million to $30 million, said Richard Chipkin, the company's CEO.
The money will be used to develop drugs to fight diseases such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression and autism, he
The company hopes to have drug targets in clinical trials in the first half of 2004, Chipkin
said by telephone Wednesday from Psychiatric Genomics' headquarters at 19 Firstfield Road.
The privately held biotech company, with a work force of 40, is developing products using genomics-based technology to screen for multiple drug targets rather than just one, he
"We think the genomics approach will increase effectiveness and [decrease] side effects," Chipkin
said.Each of these drug candidates has a multibillion-dollar market, he
A medicine to combat schizophrenia developed by pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co., for example, will likely have sales of between $2.5 billion and $3 billion this year, Chipkin
said. The money Psychiatric Genomics has raised is expected to last the company until the next initial public offering window, which could be as far off as 2005 or 2006, said Chipkin, a Schering-Plough Corp. executive of 20 years who came aboard as the company's chief executive in August 2001. Psychiatric Genomics
, founded in January 2000, raised $12 million in its first round of venture capital financing, he
said.Investors in its two rounds include Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc.
, which is based in Pasadena, Calif., and has a Rockville office; Catalytix LDC of the Cayman Islands; Emerging Technology Partners LLC
of Rockville; the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development; Oxford Bioscience Partners of Boston; and the Stanley Medical Research Institute
Funding in biotech companies is down for the year when compared with 2001, a survey by the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association
said, and the biotech sector is below other high-tech industries, such as software, Internet and telecommunications, in terms of investor demand.
Venture capitalists have become reluctant to invest in early and middle-stage drug developers, in particular, because they typically need several years and hundreds of millions of dollars to bring their products to market.
The Bethesda research institute is providing tissue samples to Psychiatric Genomics
from patients suffering from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and depression to help the biotech company in its research and development efforts, Chipkin
said. Psychiatric Genomics
has 12,500 square feet of office and laboratory space in Gaithersburg, Chipkin
said, but it will grow to 25,000 square feet when Avalon relocates to Germantown in the first quarter 2003. Psychiatric Genomics
will increase its work force, though Chipkin
could not provide specifics, saying the company's expansion will depend on research and development partnerships it makes with global biotech and pharmaceutical companies. * *
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