Tolera Therapeutics gets $4M for organ transplant rejection drug

Cleveland Clinic spinoff Tolera Therapeutics Inc. has raised more than $4 million in equity to continue developing a drug that fights organ rejection in transplant patients, according to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Series B funding will go toward a Phase 2 clinical trial of Tolera’s lead drug candidate, TOL101, said James Herrmann, the company’s chief operating officer and co-founder.

The drug is designed to suppress the immune systems of patients who have received organ transplants, which can fail because the body rejects and attacks the transplanted organ. Tolera has begun the trial and expects to complete it in a year, Herrmann said.

Tolera also plans to clinically investigate the drug’s ability to fight other autoimmune disorders, such as Type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis, Herrmann said. Those trials could start in about a year.


The company may raise another $2 million for the round, bringing the total to $6 million, if it can find new investors. So far, the latest round includes contributions from Tolera’s existing investors, Herrmann said.

In 2008, Tolera raised an $8 million Series A round. Triathlon Medical Ventures in Cincinnati led the round, which included contributions from the Southwest Michigan First Life Science Fund in Kalamazoo and Hopen Therapeutics Inc. in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The company has raised $14 million since its inception, Herrmann said.

Tolera was chosen as one of this year’s (pdf) “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch” in April by local economic development groups.

Cleveland Clinic Innovations spun off Tolera in 2007. The company moved to Kalamazoo in mid-2008 to take advantage of the area’s drug development resources and to be closer to investors, Herrmann said.

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