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Iowa’s Terpenoid Therapeutics raises $950,000 for cancer drugs

Terpenoid is developing two drugs — one to treat metastatic bone disease associated with prostate and breast cancer and multiple myeloma, and the second to treat brain cancers.

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Coralville, Iowa — University of Iowa spin-off Terpenoid Therapeutics has raised $950,000 in equity to develop small-molecule drugs for fighting cancer, according to a regulatory filing.

Terpenoid is developing two drugs — one to treat metastatic bone disease associated with prostate and breast cancers and multiple myeloma, or bone marrow cancer; the second lead is being developed to treat brain cancers.

In the regulatory document, Terpenoid said it was looking to raise $1.05 million and had already raised $950,000 of that amount.

In 2007, the company was awarded $224,000 in commercialization grants from the National Cancer Institute. In a news release announcing the funding, Terpenoid’s Jeff Neighbors said he believes the drugs the company is developing have fewer side effects than existing treatments for bone disease associated with cancer and brain cancer.

Neighbors referred questions to Terpenoid President Dr. Raymond Hohl, who didn’t return a call.

The company was founded in 2007 by Hohl, the University of Iowa’s associate chair of internal medicine, and Dr. David Wiemer, chair of the department of chemistry. Terpenoid is listed as a portfolio company of the University of Iowa Research Foundation.

Last year, the company received $150,000 from the Iowa Department of Economic Development to further testing of its brain cancer drug.

A terpenoid is a naturally occurring organic chemical that’s often found in plants, such as conifers.