Cofounded by Dr. Maria Siemionow, the leader of the Cleveland Clinic surgery team that performed the nation’s first near-total face transplant in 2008, Tolera is developing a drug intended to suppress the immune system of patients receiving organ transplants in order to prevent organ rejection. The company has said it also plans to investigate the use of that drug in fighting diabetes and other autoimmune disorders.
Tolera’s monoclonal antibody, TOL101, was granted orphan drug status in June 2010 and the company raised $4 million in a series B round that year to carry it through phase 2 clinical trials, which were expected to be completed in 2011. Previously, the company had raised an $8 million series A round in 2008.
Spun off from the Cleveland Clinic in 2006, Tolera moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan, closer to investors and drug development resources, in 2008. In 2010, the company was named one of Michigan’s 50 Companies to Watch by Michigan Celebrates Small Business.
Despite increases in the number of transplants performed over the last decade, a limited supply of donor organs continues to hinder the market for immunosuppressants.
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