MIAMI, Feb. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Insero Health, Inc., a company developing novel therapies derived from natural products, today announced that it has closed an initial financing round. The company also announced that it has exclusively licensed key patents from Harvard University for the use of Insero's lead compound huperzine as a treatment for epilepsy and other indications. Huperzine is sourced from a naturally occurring botanical extract that has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine as a treatment for memory loss and other disorders.
The inventor on the Harvard patents, Harvard Medical School epilepsy researcher and Professor of Neurology Dr. Steven Schachter, has been named Chairman of Insero's Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Insero also reported that it has signed an exclusive license with Yale University for a highly efficient synthetic manufacturing process for huperzine, enabling production of a commercially scalable and consistent supply of well-defined huperzine.
Natural products and their derivatives have had great success as approved therapeutics, accounting for about a third of all approved new molecular entities over the past 25 years. Insero intends to utilize its proprietary screening and discovery platform to identify additional compounds derived from natural products with potential for treating epilepsy and related diseases. The company also plans on leveraging the synthetic huperzine production process developed in the laboratory of Dr. Seth Herzon at Yale as a launching point for the systematic development of novel huperzine-like compositions.
"Dr. Schachter's research into the use of natural products in epilepsy is inspiring, and we are excited to have the opportunity to bring together these important technologies to potentially help the millions of people around the world who struggle with epilepsy on a daily basis," said David Kolb, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Insero Health. "Huperzine has shown great promise in a number of preclinical epilepsy models. With our initial round of financing in hand and key technology licenses secured, we are eager to move huperzine into a Phase I/II trial in epilepsy later this year." Mr. Kolb joins Insero after nearly two decades in the investment banking industry.
Epilepsy affects about three million people in the United States and over 50 million people worldwide. Many people with epilepsy take multiple medications, yet the published literature suggests that as many as one-third of people with epilepsy are unable to control their seizures with currently available medications. Huperzine brings a unique mechanism of action to epilepsy therapy, which may provide greater efficacy either as solo therapy, or when given in combination with other epilepsy drugs.
Lawrence Friedhoff, MD, PhD, has also joined Insero to focus on clinical drug development, bringing over 30 years of drug development experience to the company. Dr. Friedhoff has overseen the development of a number of new drugs, including a marketed blockbuster therapy for Alzheimer's disease with a mechanism of action similar to huperzine.
Mr. Kolb continued, "The combination of Dr. Schachter's expertise in epilepsy and Dr. Friedhoff's experience in clinical development gives Insero a very strong team as it advances huperzine in the clinic and expands its pipeline of promising candidates from natural sources."
The Reich Group, an investment firm based in Miami Beach, Florida led the initial $1.1 million financing. With the closing of the transaction, Samuel Reich, Managing Partner of The Reich Group and formerly a founder and Executive Vice President of Acuity Pharmaceuticals, will be joining Insero as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Also joining as a Director is Warren Lammert, Chairman and co-founder of the Epilepsy Therapy Project, Principal and Chief Investment Officer of Granite Point Capital and former Portfolio Manager of the Janus Mercury Fund.
Samuel Reich commented, "We were immediately attracted to Insero's management team and its strategy of transforming promising natural compounds into novel drugs addressing significant unmet medical needs. We look forward to working with Insero as they leverage their intelligent discovery and screening platform to move naturally derived products into clinical trials and eventually to patients."
Dr. Schachter will be discussing huperzine at the Epilepsy Pipeline Update Conference 2012 to be held February 2-4, 2012, in San Francisco. This biennial event focuses on emerging research and new treatments in epilepsy care and is sponsored by The Epilepsy Therapy Project (ETP), a non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate new therapies for people living with epilepsy and seizures. For more information, visit www.epilepsy.com/etp/pipeline2012.
About Insero Health
Insero Health, Inc. is a privately held healthcare company involved in the discovery, development and commercialization of pharmaceuticals derived from natural products for the treatment of epilepsy and related conditions.
SOURCE Insero Health, Inc.