Baltimore, Md. (Sept. 10, 2019) -- Veralox Therapeutics, Inc., a preclinical stage therapeutics company located in Frederick, MD has received a $500,000 investment from the University System of Maryland (USM) Maryland Momentum Fund as part of a $5.4M funding round co-led by Sanofi Ventures, the JDRF T1D Fund and the VTC Innovation and Seed Fund, with participation from the University of Vermont Health Network, and TEDCO.
Veralox’s lead clinical product candidate, VLX-1005, addresses two immune conditions with great unmet clinical need: Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) and type 1 diabetes. HIT is a potentially fatal reaction to the commonly used blood thinner Heparin and affects approximately 100,000 new patients in the U.S. each year. Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the pancreas creates little or no insulin, affecting over 200,000 new patients in the U.S. each year. A new treatment that can halt or reverse type 1 diabetes will enter a white space in the market, likely becoming a blockbuster drug. The underlying intellectual property for VLX-1005, a small molecule group, was developed over 10 years through a multi-institutional collaboration involving the National Institutes of Health, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Thomas Jefferson University, and University of California, Santa Cruz.
Founded in 2017, Veralox received early Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant funding to develop the product candidate for HIT. “Using the SBIR funding, our scientific team and world class advisory board have worked tirelessly the last two years to advance our first product candidate to IND-enabling studies while continuing to make strides in advancing our second product candidate, an oral drug for treatment of type 1 diabetes,” said Jeffrey Strovel, chief executive officer of Veralox. Strovel earned a PhD in Human Genetics from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (’99).
“From the initial presentation through due diligence and closing I was impressed with the commitment and expertise of the Veralox team to address a significant unmet medical need that will, quite literally, help patients avoid the loss of life and limb,” said David Wise, current Momentum Fund Advisory Board Member and former Managing Director of the Fund.
“Supporting USM’s technology ventures and people not only helps grow Maryland’s economy, but also USM’s identity as a place that fosters innovation. The research Veralox is conducting and the product candidates they are developing have high-impact potential. We are very excited to invest in them alongside their other major corporate and Foundation partners,” said Momentum Fund Managing Director, Claire Broido Johnson.
The Maryland Momentum Fund, which was established by the USM Board of Regents to support promising commercial opportunities arising from advances in research and intellectual property at USM campuses, has previously invested in five other startups: Gemstone Biotherapeutics, MF Fire, NextStep Robotics, the North American Wave Engine Corporation, PaverGuide, Zest Tea. The Fund is designed to fill gaps in the funding pipeline to push USM’s most innovative ideas into the marketplace.
About the USM Momentum Fund
The Maryland Momentum Fund is a new 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 twelve constituent USM institutions, its research parks, and its students, faculty, or graduates. With a $10 million commitment from the System already in place, the Fund co-invests with venture capitalists, foundations, and angel investors.
About Sanofi Ventures
Sanofi Ventures is the corporate venture capital arm of Sanofi. Sanofi Ventures invests in early-stage biotech and digital health companies with innovative ideas and transformative new products and technologies of strategic interest to Sanofi. Among these areas are rare diseases, vaccines, potential cures in other core areas of Sanofi’s business footprint, and digital health solutions. For more information, visit www.sanofiventures.com.
About the 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 commercial 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 drugs, 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 will reinvest any realized gains into new investments to further its mission.
Contact – Maryland Momentum Fund
Claire Broido Johnson
Contact – Veralox Therapeutics, Inc.
Phone: 301 580-9858
Contact: Mike Lurie