Monday, April 05, 2010

Ipierian to Seek Multimillion Clinical Trial Loan from CIRM

One of the handful of companies likely to be eligible for CIRM's ambitious clinical trial loan program has identified itself – iPierian, Inc., of South San Francisco.

According to Ron Leuty of the San Francisco Business Times, the firm will seek funding for possible therapies for Lou Gehrig's disease and spinal muscular atrophy.

Last month, CIRM directors approved the $50 million program, its first venture into clinical trials. The one or two winning applicants could see cash by the end of this year. Directors were told that perhaps only three firms might be eligible to apply. They were not identified at the meeting because that would raise conflict of interest questions. CIRM also does not identify applicants for grants or loans for fear of embarrassing them if they lose their bids for cash.

Leuty wrote about the CIRM clinical trial program on Friday. He quoted John Walker(at left), president of iPierian, as saying that CIRM's assistance fits “very nicely” with the company's plans to generate a therapy candidate within three years.

Ipieran is backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Highland Capital Partners, FinTech Capital Partners and MPM Capital, which have provided $31.5 million to the firm.

Ipierian came into being last July when iZumiBio and Pierian merged. The company's Web site said it was collaborating with Gladstone Institutes and Kyoto University's Center for iPS Cell Research and Application with Shinya Yamanaka, whose lab first succeeded in creating iPS cells in mice.

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