Hemaquest Snaps Up $6M To Treat Sickle Cell, Other Blood Disorders

Xconomy Seattle — 

Hemaquest Pharmaceuticals, the Seattle-based company developing a new treatment for sickle cell anemia, has pocketed a $6 million equity financing, according to a regulatory filing. The financing could eventually total as much as $12.7 million.

The filing doesn’t say who participated in the deal, but it lists some familiar biotech names as members of the Hemaquest board. The directors include CEO Ron Berenson, the former top executive at Seattle-based Xcyte Therapies; Ivor Royston of San Diego-based Forward Ventures; Frederick Dotzler of De Novo Ventures in Palo Alto, CA; George Stamatoyannopoulos of the University of Washington; and Bryan Dunnivant of Lilly Ventures in Indianapolis. Hemaquest didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment this morning.

The company was founded in 2007 by scientists at UW, Boston University, and Colorado State University, and backed by Forward Ventures, De Novo Ventures, and Lilly Ventures, according to the company website. Hemaquest’s strategy is to develop “short-chain fatty acid” molecules for treating life-threatening blood disorders. It has two experimental drugs now in the middle stage of drug development—one for sickle cell anemia, and the other for viral-related blood cancers. If those trials are successful, Hemaquest says it’s possible it could enter the third and final phase of clinical trials as soon as 2011.