Takeda to invest in regenerative medicine startup Juventas’ next round

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Takeda Pharmaceuticals is a strategic investor in regenerative medicine company Juventas Therapeutics’ upcoming series B round of funding.

Juventas’ CEO Rahul Aras discussed the investment during a panel at a meeting of the Ohio Venture Association on Friday.

“If you think venture capital due diligence is difficult …” Aras joked, “I think [Takeda] called my mother.”


Aras didn’t put a dollar figure on the Juventas’ series B, but called it “a relatively large round.”  The round is expected to close soon, he said.

Aras has previously said that the Cleveland-based Juventas was targeting about $25 million in the round.

Juventas is a Cleveland Clinic spinoff and is based on technology pioneered by former Clinic cardiologist Marc Penn.

The company’s technology, JVS-100, works by recruiting stem cells from the bone marrow to create new blood vessels. It’s based on Stromal Cell-Derived Factor-1 (SDF-1), a naturally produced molecule that attempts to repair the heart immediately following a heart attack.

The company is investigating JVS-100 for the treatment of patients who suffer from heart failure and critical limb ischemia.

One panelist asked Aras whether Takeda’s investment means it’s likely to be Juventas’ eventual acquirer. “I don’t assume anything about an exit,” Aras said. “I just focus on developing the company and figure someone will eventually want to buy us.”

Juventas formed in 2007 under the name AcelleRX Therapeutics; existing investors include Early Stage Partners, Triathlon Medical Ventures and Blue Chip Venture Co., plus JumpStart and North Coast Angel Fund.

A Takeda spokeswoman didn’t immediately return a call.


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