Investors in Norak Biosciences, which include Intersouth Partners, have agreed to provide the drug discovery firm with up to $5 million in the form of a convertible loan.
But Sallie Shuping Russell, a general partner at Durham-based Intersouth and board member of Norak, says the funding is not a new round and that the company may not choose to draw it all.
“Things are going great at Norak, and we didn’t want any dilution,” Shuping-Russell tells Local Tech Wire. “Because the company has revenues, it is uncertain what…if any…additional money will need to go into the company.”
In addition to Intersouth, other venture capital investors in Norak include Durham-based Aurora Funds, Noro-Moseley Partners of Atlanta, and Mitsui & Co. Venture Partners, which has offices in New York and Tokyo.
Norak, which is based in RTP and employs some 30 people, has previously raised $16 million in two rounds of venture capital financing.
The company is utilizing its proprietary Transfluor technology to discover and develop drugs that regulate G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The technology, which was licensed from Duke in 1999, is designed to scrren potential drug candidates against GPCR targets, whether known or orphan.
For near-term growth and revenue, Norak says it is offering access to its technologies to the drug discovery industry via licensing and screening collaborations. For the long-term, the company says it has internal GPCR drug development programs.
Norak recently completed a screening collaboration agreement with Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals of Japan to use its Transfluor technology to develop cell lines expressing an orphan GPCR target of interest to Sumitomo.
“We are very pleased with the results from this screening collaboration with Sumitomo. This is our first Japanese screening collaboration and the first time we have screened a partner’s orphan GPCR target at Norak,” said Roger Blevins, president and CEO or Norak. “We have now delivered high content data and images to Sumitomo on active compounds from their library.”
Other than Sumitomo, Norak also has partnerships with AstraZeneca, Merck & Co. and Hoffman LaRoche to use its Transfluor technology.
“Norak will continue exploring the business opportunities worldwide by providing our universal GPCR cell-based, high content assay to partners,” added Blevins, “along with Norak’s world class GPCR biology and high throughput screening expertise.”
Norak Biosciences: www.norakbio.com