RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. … Drug discovery company Xanthon has closed on a portion of a planned $10 million to $15 million funding round.

Existing investors Aurora Funds, Franklin Street Partners, Intersouth Partners and Noro-Moseley Partners provided the money, but Xanthon Chief Operating Officer Neil Moore declines to specify the amount. Published reports have pegged it at $2.5 million.

“We’re actively looking for additional financing,” Moore tells LocalTechWire.

The company needs it, having laid off about half of its staff last month and delaying the launch of its first product, a tool that automates the process of analyzing the interactions between genes and drugs.

Xanthon is seeking money to fund product manufacturing, or it must line up a business partner that could handle production, Moore says.

Once a lead investor for the funding round is lined up, the company plans to seek a new chief executive officer to replace Jim Skinner, who stepped down earlier this year. Moore says he expects the investor would like to bring in its own candidate, so Xanthon officials don’t want to begin the search before the financing deal is completed.

Xanthon website: www.xanthon.com