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12:00 AM
 | 
Feb 23, 2015
 |  BioCentury  |  Finance

Catching up in beta thalassemia

Why investors think Merganser can compete in beta thalassemia

Despite impressive data from more advanced therapies in beta thalassemia, investors in Merganser Biotech Inc. think there's still a role for the biotech's hepcidin replacement therapy in patients with less severe disease.

The hematology play raised $28 million in a series A round last week led by new investor Novartis Venture Fund. Other new investors were Frazier Healthcare, Sutter Hill Ventures and Osage University Partners. Existing investors BioAdvance and Stateside Developments also participated. Merganser is developing hepcidin mimetic peptides to treat hematological and iron overload disorders like beta thalassemia.

Decreased hepcidin expression in beta thalassemia leads to increased toxic iron absorption. While iron chelators like Exjade deferasirox...

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