Connecticut Innovations (CI), the state’s quasi-public authority responsible for technology-based innovation and economic development, today announced that it has made a follow-on investment of $269,160 in antibiotics developer BioRelix Inc. (BioRelix) of New Haven, Conn., through its Eli Whitney Fund. This investment will be part of a funding round of approximately $2.5 million for the company. CI made its first investment of $500,000 in BioRelix in December 2011.
BioRelix is developing antibiotics using a new riboswitch-based drug discovery platform. Riboswitches are short stretches of messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) that bind small molecules and control genes that are essential for the survival of many human pathogens. First identified in the laboratory of Prof. Ron Breaker at Yale University, several different classes of riboswitch mRNAs have been identified and each potentially could serve as a novel anti-infective drug target.
“The ongoing support from our current investors has been critical to our progress in advancing potential new antibiotics through the research and development process,” said Brian Dixon, chief executive officer of BioRelix. “We are very pleased that Connecticut Innovations continues to invest in our efforts and support the development of new medicines here in New Haven.”
The BioRelix team, which includes several scientists that formerly worked at Bayer Pharmaceuticals and Yale University, has extensive scientific and drug development experience. The team has successfully secured technology licenses from Yale University and other institutions.
The company’s most advanced initiative is an antibiotic for a hospital-acquired infection. BioRelix is also involved in a research collaboration with a subsidiary of Merck & Co. to identify new antibacterial drug candidates.
“CI’s follow-on investment in BioRelix demonstrates our confidence in the company’s innovative antibiotic platform and supports Governor Malloy’s goal to strengthen Connecticut’s bioscience industry,” said Claire Leonardi, chief executive officer and executive director of CI. “We look forward to supporting the BioRelix team.”
About Connecticut Innovations Inc. Connecticut Innovations (CI) is a quasi-public organization dedicated to driving a vibrant, entrepreneurial, technology-based economy in Connecticut. CI stimulates high-tech growth by investing in early-stage Connecticut technology companies, university/industry research collaborations and technology transfer and collaborating with government, business, nonprofit and academic organizations to advance technology growth and promote public policies consistent with CI’s mission. For more information on CI, please visit www.ctinnovations.com.
About BioRelix Inc. BioRelix Inc. is a drug discovery and development company focused on identifying new anti-infective drug treatments. BioRelix is building a portfolio of products based on novel patented RNA targets, termed riboswitches, which were identified by the laboratory of BioRelix co-founder, Ronald Breaker, Ph.D., Howard Hughes Investigator and Henry Ford II Professor at Yale University. BioRelix owns a worldwide license to develop and market riboswitch targeted medicines. The company’s investors include CHL Medical Partners, Novartis Bioventures, New Leaf Ventures, Aisling Capital, Elm Street Ventures, Alexandria Equities and Connecticut Innovations. For more information on BioRelix, please visit www.biorelix.com.