DURHAM – The neonatal care company Tellus Therapeutics will continue its work to advance treatments for newborn children in neonatal intensive care units, now backed by $35 million in Series A funding.

The new funding round was led by the Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund, according to a statement issued by the company.

With the new funding, the company will “advance TT-20, the company’s lead candidate for the treatment of white matter brain injury in preterm infants,” the statement noted.  In addition, the firm will work on developing other pipeline programs.

“We are pleased to see our partnership with Xontogeny thriving and joined by Perceptive Advisors’ PXV Fund,” said Jason Kralic, the CEO and cofounder of Tellus Therapeutics.  “Together we are committed to developing treatments for babies at risk for brain injury and other unmet medical needs in the NICU.”

With $2M in hand, neonatal startup Tellus Therapeutics plans future raise


Kralic called the investment a “big step for Tellus, but only a baby step compared to the impact that these treatments could have on the lives of preterm infants and their families.”

That’s because one in every ten babies born in the United States is born prematurely, before the delivery of the child would be considered full term.  That leaves many babies at risk for brain injury, including the most common brain injury, white matter injury, or WMI.

WMI is characterized by a reduction in myelin development in the brain, Tellus notes in the statement.  That results in “poor neurodevelopmental outcomes affecting motor and cognitive ability.”

The company’s drug candidate known as TT-20 is derived from a class of molecules found in breast milk, the company statement notes. Such molecules “promote the generation of myelin from postnatal neural stem populations” in a way that is”reparative and independent of the cause of WMI, thereby providing an advantage over neuroprotective approaches that target only injury prevention.”

Tellus Therapeutics received seed funding from Xontogeny in May 2021 and had planned to raise additional capital.