ProNAi lands $12M in Series C venture capital

ProNAi has secured $12 million in venture capital, seed money that will allow the life sciences startup to move forward with a critical clinical trial for its new cancer drug.

The Series C round of investment is led by Capital Midwest Fund, a venture capital firm based out of Milwaukee. Among the other VCs involved in the deal are Apjohn Ventures, which is based in Kalamazoo, and the Grand Angels, an angel investor group based in Holland, Mich.

"We have a great group of angels that not only participated in this round but have participated all along the way," says Mina Sooch, CEO of ProNAi.

The Plymouth-based startup also has an office in Kalamazoo, where it is developing a cancer-fight drug called PNT2258. ProNAi describes it as a drug that utilizes a proprietary DNA interference technology to block a key oncogene BCL2 that then signals cancer cells to die. The firm hired three people a little more than a year ago and expects to hire as many as six people in the first half of this year.

ProNAi needs to complete three clinical studies to acheive commercialization of the drug. This $12 million seed round will fund the most important study of those three, which will take about 18 months to complete.

"It's a very important study that will move the drug toward being approved," Sooch says.

This isn't the first time ProNAi has successfully closed a venture capital round. The 8-year-old startup raised $2 million from VCs and angels in 2012 and has raised $20 million before this most recent round. Sooch expects to continue fundraising to complete the commercialization of ProNAi’s cancer drug.

"We're always fundraising," Sooch says. "We might expand this round or add a B round."

Source: Mina Sooch, CEO of ProNAi
Writer: Jon Zemke

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