HemaQuest Raises $4M More, Boosting VC Round to $16M for Sickle Cell, Blood Disorders

Xconomy Seattle — 

Another few months have gone by, and another few million bucks have arrived in the corporate treasury for HemaQuest Pharmaceuticals. The Seattle-based developer is announcing today it has raised $4 million for its experimental treatments for sickle cell anemia and other blood disorders.

The financing comes from a new investor, Latterell Venture Partners. This latest shot of cash brings HemaQuest’s Series B venture round up to a total of $16 million, after the company said it raised $6 million in January, and another $6 million in April, from its existing syndicate of backers—Aberdare Ventures, De Novo Ventures, Forward Ventures, and Lilly Ventures. As part of the deal, James Woody of Latterell Venture Partners is joining the startup company’s board.

The financing will be used to help push HemaQuest’s two lead drug candidates through mid-stage clinical trials designed to show they are safe and effective. HemaQuest is led by CEO Ron Berenson, the co-founder of Xcyte Therapies and CellPro. Those two companies didn’t survive, but Berenson found a new beginning with HemaQuest, as it raised a $20 million Series A venture round in November 2007. The company was based on research from the University of Washington, Boston University, and Colorado State University. The idea is to develop “short-chain fatty acid” molecules for life-threatening blood disorders. The company’s top two drug candidates from this class are for sickle cell anemia, and for a lymphoma linked to Epstein-Barr virus infections.

“The company, with excellent leadership and considerable skill in the hematology and oncology space, has made great progress with the two lead compounds, with promising results in early clinical trials,” Latterell’s Woody says in a statement.