NephroGenex, a biotechnology startup based in Cary, has closed on $500,000 in seed funding.

The company, which is developing treatments to combat kidney disease, continues to look for Series A funding as part of its research and development efforts.

NephroGenex was among the early-stage presents at the SEBIO Investors Conference in Miami earlier this week.

Discovery Life Sciences Fund, Vanderbilt University and Karolinska Innovations AB of Sweden led the $500,000 seed round. The company’s founders work at Vanderbilt and Karolinska.

Billy Hudson of Vanderbilt University and Karl Tryggvason of the Karolinska Institute co-founded the company. Both are acknowledged experts in nephrology.

“This seed financing allows us to complete the foundation for a company that combines cutting edge molecular profiling technologies with world renowned kidney researchers”, explained J. Wesley Fox, president and CEO of NephroGenex.

The company said proceeds would be used to initiate research and business operations plus for expansion of its intellectual property portfolio.

“We are excited to participate in the formation of NephroGenex”, said Tony Natale, a principal of the Discovery Life Sciences Fund. “Kidney disease is one of the costliest and most challenging areas of medicine today. NephroGenex brings together some of the most respected research minds from Europe and the United States, along with seasoned biotechnology executives, to focus on developing effective therapies for kidney disease.”

The company pointed out that more than 20 million Americans are afflicted with a form of kidney disease.

NephroGenex has developed a proprietary kidney-specific molecular profiling technology that it said is “establishing molecular ‘fingerprints’ for the leading renal diseases” and identify patients that can benefit from FDA approved drugs and drug candidates.

The firm has already developed one drug candidate in pre-clinical study and said it has shown promise in fighting a process often present in kidney disease called glomerulosclerosis.