No Headache for NeurAxon: Company Closes $32 Million Financing Round

Sheesh—so many stories are breaking today I’m getting a headache. I guess it’s good news for me that Waltham, MA-based drugmaker NeurAxon—whose leading product candidate is aimed at migraines—just secured $32 million in a Series B financing. The round was led by New York-based OrbiMed Advisors and Delphi Ventures of Menlo Park, CA. All the Series A investors also took part in the deal.

It might be a while before NeurAxon can help with my aching head, though. The biotech company’s drug for acute migraines, called NXN-188, hasn’t yet entered Phase 2 clinical trials. But at least now the company has a pot of money to keep working on it. CEO Lawrence Bloch says the $32 million, coming on top of about $16 million in Series A financing from when the company was founded some three years ago, should be enough to get the firm “well into 2009.”

NeurAxon currently has five products in the pipeline, all except NXN-188 in preclinical development. The company is targeting the multi-billion-dollar pain market by focusing on developing what are called neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) inhibitors. These are compounds targeted at specifically controlling the nNOS enzyme, which is involved in modulating pain and central nervous system function. Bloch says the company’s strategy is to develop dual-action drugs that combine nNOS inhibition with proven pain therapies that include opiates to treat migraines and other serious pain indications. “The core technology can be complemented with other well-understood pain therapies to create pain synergies to fundamentally improve the standard of care in areas where there’s significant unmet medical need,” he says.

Bloch is a veteran biotech executive who joined NeurAxon in March after stints at Applied Molecular Evolution and NitroMed. NeurAxon currently employs 13 people, divided between its Waltham headquarters and a research facility in Toronto. Bloch says he expects the company to grow to between 30 and 35 personnel following the new funding.

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