DURHAM – An all-star list of Triangle investors is backing Durham pharmaceutical startup Emergo Therapeutics with $12 million in venture capital.

Leading the round, which was announced Wednesday, is REX Health Ventures.

Other backers include:

  • Wolfpack Investor Network
  • Carolina Angel Network
  • Hatteras Venture Partners’ Venture Capital Multiplier Fund

Emergo is developing treatment options for flu-like illnesses and to boost the body’s immune system response. REX has already worked with the company in assessing its technology.

“REX Health Ventures is proud to support Emergo’s pioneering development to reduce symptoms associated with flu-like illnesses,” said Steve Burriss, president of UNC REX, in the announcement. “We are confident in Emergo’s leadership and look forward to supporting their research of innovative treatments that could benefit millions of patients.”

Emergo will use the funds “move ahead with development and testing of norketotifen, the only active metabolite of ketotifen, a drug with a 40-year record of safety and efficacy in asthma and allergic conditions,” the company and REX noted.

REX Health Ventures

Robin and Nancy Hyde-DeRuyscher founded Emergo in 2016.  Robin is a former senior scientists and executive at Biogen.

Emergo received $75,000 for preclinical studies of drugs it is developing to treat acute inflammatory conditions caused by infections and autoimmune diseases last summer from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

“Startup companies in the Triangle, like Emergo, are increasingly depending not only on institutional investors like RHV [REX Health Ventures], but also on a growing network of angel investors either based within this region’s three major universities or loosely affiliated with them,” said Emergo CEO Moise Khayrallah. “RHV’s leadership and due diligence capabilities in the health sciences field are crucial in rounding together sizable funds that could transform the landscape of health sciences companies in our area.”

Khayrallah has heled executive roles at Addrenex Pharmaceuticals, Neuronex and Aerial BioPharma.

REX Health Ventures has now made 12 investments since launching in 2012.