Gabriel Cipau, a veteran entrepreneur in life science, has launched a new company focused on drugs to treat brain disorders with the help of Duke University and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.
is the latest in a series of firms run by Cipau. He also has served as an executive with Nippon Wellcome, Catalytica Pharmaceuticals, Copley Pharmaceuticals, Biolex and PhaseBio.
NeuroScience has licensed technology from Duke and the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center. A lead product called Pregnenolone that is intended to be a treatment for schizophrenia is already being tested in two Phase II clinical trials.
The startup is seeking a Series A round of investment from outside investors.
A $50,000 loan from the Biotech Center helped NeuroScience begin operations.
NeuroScience technology is based on the development of so-called neurosteroid drugs. Neurosteroids are linked to the control of anxiety and depression.
“Phase I clinical trials have indicated that Pregnenolone has the potential to effectively address schizophrenia symptoms with a favorable side effect profile”, Cipau said in a statement.
According to the company, the Phase II trials are already funded.
“This new company will focus on advancing compounds for the treatment of various psychiatric and neurological disorders in which patients are currently underserved by available therapies,” said Brandy Salmon, associate director of the Office of Licensing and Ventures at Duke.
Christine Marx, an associate professor of biological psychiatry at Duke and a researcher of neurosteroids, is an unpaid scientific advisor board member for the company.
Cipau believes the company’s technology also can be used to combat Alzheimer’s, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, addiction and cognitive impairment.