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Drug startup secures $10M

November 29, 2016
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Tetra Discovery
Mark Gurney, founder, chairman and CEO of Tetra Discovery Partners, credits the startup and life sciences atmosphere in West Michigan with helping his company grow. Photo by Adam Bird

A startup drug developer in town has closed a $5-million Series A venture financing round and won $5 million in federal grants.

Grand Rapids-based Tetra Discovery Partners said today it received funding from Kalamazoo-based Apjohn Group and Holland-based Grand Angels, with the participation of previous investors as, well as Dolby Family Ventures, the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation and other private investors.

The new financing allows Tetra to finalize preparations for a planned Phase 2a study of BPN14770, Tetra’s lead drug candidate in treating Alzheimer’s disease. The study is expected to occur in the second half of 2017.

As part of the Series A financing, Apjohn Group Managing Director Donald Parfet joins the Tetra Board of Directors.

"I have been following Tetra's progress since the company's founding," Parfet said. "Based on Tetra's experienced management team, their efficient progress from compound discovery into human clinical trials and the strong support that the company's efforts have received from the National Institutes of Health, we are very pleased to lead this Series A financing."

Millions from feds

Tetra also said today it has received a pair of federal grants from the National Institutes of Health worth $5 million.

A $2-million Phase 2b Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institute on Aging will support Tetra’s Phase 1 multiple-ascending dose study of its Alzheimer’s drug, BPN14770, in healthy volunteers over the age of 60.

A $3-million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health will support Tetra’s discovery program in treating depression.

“Significant progress”

"We have made significant progress over the last four years, advancing from initial discovery of BPN14770 through the completion of a sequence of Phase 1 clinical studies in young and elderly volunteers,” Tetra Chairman and CEO Mark Gurney said.

“We sincerely thank our investors and the National Institutes of Health for their ongoing support of our efforts."


Tetra Discovery Partners, which also has an office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing products to treat Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders.

Tetra was a recipient of a NIH Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network cooperative agreement and receives major funding through the NIH, in addition to private financing.

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