, its lead drug candidate having cleared Phase I clinical trials, is ready to go to Phase II tests and has $15 million more in the bank to do so.

CeNeRx has closed on a Series B round of venture funding with existing investors Pappas Ventures, Aisling Capital and L Capital Partners leading the round.

Pappas is based in RTP.

CeNeRx has raised more than $33 million in funding. It closed on $18.5 million in 2005.

The new funds will be used for the next phase of trials for Tyrima, a drug intended to treat major depressive disorder, or MDD. CeNeRx is researching potential treatments for a variety of central nervous system disorders. The company also may use part of the new funding to buy rights to other compounds.

Tyrima is based on reversible inhibitors of monoamine oxidase A, or RIMA. RIMA-based antidepressants are already sold in Europe. The drugs elevate levels of three neurotransmitters that affect mood and anxiety, unlike other antidepressants that focus on one neurotransmitter.

If the drug is approved, it would be the first RIMA antidepressant available in the U.S. CeNeRx owns worldwide rights to Tyrima.

In the U.S. alone, nearly 15 million adults deal with what the National Institute of Mental Health calls “major depressive disorders.”

“This successful Series B financing is a validation of the excellent progress we are making in advancing Tyrima, which we believe has the potential to be an important new option in the $15 billion antidepressant market,” said CeNeRx President Mark Baric.