Hydra Biosciences Raises $22M to Create New Pain Relievers With Fewer Side Effects

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as Pfizer shifted its focus to late-stage development, Herndon says.

Assuming Hydra can spend its new money wisely, Hydra hopes to generate new partnerships with Big Pharma to advance this line of work, Herndon says. The latest venture round is supposed to build value by helping Hydra push its first drug candidate into initial clinical trials in the second half of this year to block a target called TRPA1, Herndon says. Down the road, the company has plans to test that drug, a conventional small-molecule chemical compound, for post-surgical pain, inflammatory pain, and possibly nerve pain, he says.

A second small-molecule candidate aimed at a target called TRPV3 is being prepped to follow shortly thereafter in clinical trials in 2010, he says. That one will be aimed at chronic pain conditions like lower back pain, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis, he says.

“Hydra Biosciences’ strong management team and expertise in TRP ion channel receptor drug discovery has the potential to create first-in-class drugs for significant diseases, such as pain, inflammation and pulmonary disease,” said Maggie Flanagan LeFlore, managing director of MedImmune Ventures, in a statement.

Hydra has morphed through the years into a company with 40 employees that concentrate 100 percent on the TRP ion channel biology work, Herndon says. When the company got started, it concentrated on a program to make small-molecule drugs to stimulate regeneration of damaged heart muscle. Three years ago, Hydra scrapped that heart regeneration program to consolidate its bet on TRP ion channels.

“The real near-term value drive, in terms of time it takes to get to the market quickly, was in the ion channel space,” Herndon says. “We are the only company 100 percent focused on TRPs, and we are world leaders in this biology.”

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