A $10 million venture fund launched earlier this year by the private, nonprofit hospital Rex Healthcare has found its first portfolio company in Morrisville, North Carolina-based Aerial BioPharma, which develops biologics and small molecules for conditions affected by the central nervous system.
Rex Health Ventures’ $500,000 investment in Aerial is part of the company’s initial $3.8 million tranche of equity financing that also came from 3G Capital and an angel group in Tennessee. Last October, MedCity News reported on securities filings disclosing that the company opened a $12 million financing effort, so we expect to hear more from them soon.
Aerial, founded in 2011, has an investigative treatment for narcolepsy in phase 2 clinical trials, and an early stage biologic to treat pain licensed from UNC Chapel Hill. In a statement, company officials said the finances would be used for clinical trials, research and drug manufacturing.
Rex Health Ventures adviser Merrette Moore told WRAL Tech Wire that Aerial’s management team, made up of former leaders of Addrenex Pharmaceuticals and Neuronex, has already demonstrated its ability to execute quick, attractive exits, which makes the company a prime candidate for investment.
Aerial additionally benefits from the investment by getting access to Rex’s five sleep centers as potential clinical trial sites.
Rex is in good company as a hospital flexing its innovation muscles with a venture capital fund — Cleveland Clinic, Kaiser Permanente and Indiana University Health are a few of the others. Rex’s fund, which is focused on healthcare IT, healthcare services, medical devices and biopharmaceuticals, is part of a larger initiative called the Rex Strategic Innovations that includes grants and a program that works with thought leaders in technology, research and entrepreneurship.