Heidi Chokeir or David Schull
Russo Partners, LLC (619)814-3512
Zacharon Pharmaceuticals Completes $3.5 Million Series A Financing, Receives
More Than $2.2 Million in NIH Grants
Company Positioned to Advance Glycan Inhibitors Identified with Proprietary
High-Throughput Screening Platform Through Safety Studies, Into Early Clinical Trials
SAN DIEGO, Nov. 18, 2008 - Zacharon Pharmaceuticals Inc. today announced the completion
of a $3.5 million Series A financing and the receipt of more than $2.2 million in
National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grants.
The financing, provided by Avalon Ventures LLC, and the grants position the company
to advance its lead small-molecule glycan inhibitors identified with a proprietary
high-throughput screening platform through safety studies into early clinical trials.
"Avalon's investment is an acknowledgment of the value of our technology platform
for targeting glycan biosynthesis," said Charles Glass, Ph.D., Zacharon's co-founder
and senior vice president of research. "Our high-throughput screening approach has
already yielded several very promising small-molecule drug candidates for applications
in genetic disorders and oncology."
Zacharon's most advanced compound is a small molecule glycan inhibitor for the treatment
of mucopolysaccaridosis (MPS), an orphan disease with debilitating neurological
symptoms. There is a significant market and medical need for improved MPS treatments
because present therapies have limited efficacy and don't treat the neurological
symptoms. Zacharon's lead compound may be the first therapy to treat the neurological
symptoms associated with MPS as small molecules can cross the blood-brain barrier
whereas existing treatments do not.
In conjunction with the financing, Avalon Ventures' Jay Lichter, Ph.D., will
serve as Zacharon's president and chief executive officer, Doug Downs as chief financial
officer and Court Turner as chief operating officer.
"Zacharon's technology is the first of its kind and a significant step forward in
developing drugs for the treatment of glycan-related diseases," said Lichter. "Past
attempts at developing drugs that target glycans have been limited by slow and expensive
carbohydrate chemistry, as well as the lack of glycan-targeted high-throughput screening
methods, making it impossible to screen small-molecule libraries. Zacharon has developed
the technology and now has the financial backing to dominate the field of glycan-targeted
About Avalon Ventures
Avalon Ventures LLC is a San Diego-based venture capital firm that focuses on seed
and early stage companies in life sciences, wireless communications and Web 3.0
digital media, primarily in California and the Northeast. Avalon's current Fund,
Avalon VIII L.P., is $150 million.
Avalon Ventures is one of the longest-standing venture capital firms in San Diego, investing in life sciences and information technology opportunities locally and
around the country since 1983 through eight Avalon Ventures funds. The collective
market capitalization of Avalon Ventures' portfolio companies (most founded by Avalon
partners) currently exceeds $11 billion.
For more information, visit the Avalon Ventures Web site at
About Zacharon Pharmaceuticals
Zacharon Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on early stage
development of a new class of small-molecule drugs that target glycans. Glycans
are a diverse class of molecules with key roles in many chronic and serious diseases
with significant unmet medical needs, including genetic disorders, oncology and
inflammation. Zacharon uses its proprietary high-throughput screening technology
to identify lead compounds that target glycans. The company's strategy is to demonstrate
human proof of concept in Phase I/early Phase II clinical trials, and then out-license
the drug candidates or reach regulatory approval through strategic alliances with
larger pharmaceutical companies.
For more information, visit Zacharon's Web site at www.zacharon.com.