July 25, 2018

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Duke biotech startup Cereius lands $6.75M in new capital


[Originally posted on Cereius, July 24, 2018]

Cereius, Inc. Announces $6.75 Million Financing Proceeds to advance novel therapies for treating solid tumor brain metastasis

cereius logo

Durham, NC– July 25, 2018 – Cereius, Inc., a biotechnology company developing novel approaches to treat solid tumor brain metasteses, announced today that it has closed a $6.75 million financing. The financing includes a $6.5M Series A round which was led by BioInnovation Capital, and included several individual investors. Additionally, Cereius has received a $250,000 loan from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

Cereius was founded in 2017 by Dr. Michael Zalutsky, Professor of Radiology, Radiation Oncology and Biomedical Engineering at Duke University and Dr. Kim Blackwell, Vice President, Early Phase Development and Immuno-oncology at Lilly Oncology and former Professor of Medicine, Duke University. Cereius’ intellectual property includes next-generation radiolabeling chemistries developed by Dr. Zalutsky and exclusively licensed from Duke University. These techniques increase the uptake of radionuclides within the tumor site by up to 10-fold while simultaneously reducing the off-target levels in healthy tissues, as compared to existing methods. Moreover, the chemistries can employ a variety of medically advantageous radionuclides to either enhance the detection sensitivity of diagnostic imaging or to improve the therapeutic index of targeted therapies. By combining this technology with advancements in the field of high-affinity, tumor-targeting agents, Cereius has positioned itself to deliver a new class of diagnostics agents and focal radiotherapeutics capable of treating solid tumor brain metastasis based on the molecular fingerprint of a patient’s cancer.

“Solid tumor brain metastasis is a significant unmet need with 30% of advanced solid tumor patients developing brain metastasis representing between 100,000-170,000 patients/year in the US.,” said Dr. Blackwell. “Incidence is growing due to more effective systemic cancer therapies leading to improved survival. Current standard of care, whole brain radiation therapy, has been shown in recent clinical studies to be similar to palliative care in terms of survival and quality of life.”

“Cereius brings a skilled team and unique solution to treating solid tumor brain metastasis,” said Eric Linsley, general partner of BioInnovation Capital. “We look forward to working with Cereius to support the advancement of its radiotherapies and imaging agents.”

In conjunction with the financing, Eric Linsley and Susie Harbouth, general partners at BioInnovation Capital will join Cereius’ board of directors. Additionally, William Hawkins, Chairman of the Board of Immucor and BioVentus and former CEO of Medtronic has agreed to join the board.

“We are excited to have the support of our investors including BioInnovation Capital and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center,” said Ed Field, CEO of Cereius. “We are actively advancing our own portfolio of radiotherapies and imaging agents based on our technology. We have also initiated discussions with potential partners who have explored novel targeting agents, like antibodies or camelids (VHHs), and would benefit from our novel radiolabeling technology.”

About Cereius, Inc.
Cereius, Inc. is a privately owned, pre-clinical stage company developing novel approaches to treating sold tumor brain metastasis. Cereius’ novel radiolabeling chemistries increase the uptake and retention of radionuclides in the target tumor while minimizing uptake by normal tissues, significantly enhancing the therapeutic index and diagnostic contrast of targeting agents.
For more information, please visit www.cereius.io

About BioInnovation Capital
BioInnovation Capital is an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in the most-promising life-science companies, which operate out of a network of shared laboratory facilities in several cities across the US. BioLabs North Carolina, the preeminent co-working laboratory for life-science startups in North Carolina, is home to Cereius.
For more information, please visit www.bio-innovation.com

About the North Carolina Biotechnology Center
The North Carolina Biotechnology Center is the oldest new-tech organization of its kind in the world. The mission of NCBiotech is to provide long-term economic and societal benefits to North Carolina through support of biotechnology research, business, education and strategic policy statewide. The General Assembly funds NCBiotech as a private, non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to biotechnology development. NCBiotech is headquartered in Research Triangle Park, with regional offices in Asheville, Greater Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greenville and Wilmington.

PRESS CONTACT
Cereius Inc.
Ed Field
701 West Main Street
Suite 200
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-667-2502
Email: ed@biolabs.io