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Michigan biotech firm NephRx raises $6.2M for kidney, gastro disease therapies

Biotechnology company NephRx Corp. has raised $6.2 million in equity. The preclinical stage company is working to develop drugs to treat kidney failure, plus diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, including mucositis, Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.

KALAMAZOO, Michigan — Biotechnology company NephRx Corp. has raised $6.2 million in equity for its kidney and gastrointestinal disease therapeutics, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The preclinical stage company is working to develop drugs to treat kidney failure, plus diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, including mucositis, Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.

NephRx, founded in 2001, has no revenue and began the fundraise in November 2007, according to the regulatory filing.

It’s unclear from whom NephRx received the financing. However, its board members include employees of Michigan-based venture firms Seneca Partners and the Apjohn Group. NephRx executives didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The company is developing two growth factors, which are proteins that stimulate cells to grow and divide. The first, called NX001, is designed to repair and regenerate kidney cells. The company’s other drug lead, NX002, would treat mucositis, an inflammation of the lining of the mouth, throat or gastrointestinal tract that occurs in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

The company says it “would consider” establishing partnerships to help develop the drug candidates.

NephRx licensed its technology from the University of Chicago, where its founding scientist Dr. F Gary Toback is a professor of medicine and cell physiology. Chief Executive William McGiniss is a former Eli Lilly & Co. executive.

The company is located in the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center at Western Michigan University.

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