Spherics Receives $4M Equity Delivery

Drug delivery start-up Spherics recently received a $4 million cash injection from a venture capital marketplace that is growing bullish on biotech businesses. The Providence, R.I.-based company’s first round of funding was led by Zero Stage Capital with a $3.25 million investment while the remaining $750,000 was snapped up by CB Health Ventures.

Although there are a number of firms dedicated to the improvement of drug delivery systems, especially in terms of cost and convenience, Spherics hopes to set itself apart by developing molecules that will enhance gastrointestinal uptake, or absorption.

“We’re really focused on improving absorption by increasing the bioadhesiveness’ of certain drugs because such an increase will add to the total amount of time it takes drugs to pass through the gastrotrack,” said Ben Bronstein, Chief Executive of Spherics and a venture advisor to Zero Stage Capital. “If we can cause drugs to adhere to the wall for a longer period of time, the drug’s active agent has more opportunity to be released into, and absorbed by, the body.”

The types of pharmaceuticals Bronstein cited as being likely beneficiaries of Spherics’ technology were certain antibiotics, anti-fungal agents, protease inhibitors and proton pump inhibitors.

The company currently has four issued patents, two that currently have claims allowed, one pending and several more in the works. Bronstein added that because most of Spherics’ costly proof of principle work has been completed, it is unlikely that the company will be back in the private equity market anytime in the next two years.

Prior to the recently announced venture funding, Spherics had secured some seed money through a $75,000 research award from the Rhode Island Center for Cellular Medicine and the Brown University Research Foundation. The latter organization has ownership of the relevant intellectual property and has licensed it to Spherics in exchange for both a licensing fee and an undisclosed royalty arrangement once Spherics has products on the open market. At press time, BURF had not returned calls asking whether or not the organization had an equity stake in Spherics, although a representative did acknowledge that such a practice was not uncommon.