Brickell Biotech, a Miami development-stage pharmaceutical company focused on the development of innovative drug therapies for the treatment of skin diseases, has closed a $7M Series B financing round. The round is led by a new strategic partner, AMOREPACIFIC Ventures of AMOREPACIFIC Group, the largest cosmetic and aesthetics company in Korea. Also participating in this round are existing investors, including Palisade Concentrated Equity Partnership II, L.P. and others. The funds from this financing round will be used to support the further development of novel compounds in Brickell’s pipeline from pre-clinical proof of concept through clinical testing. Under the terms of the agreement, AMOREPACIFIC will also obtain an option to first negotiate an exclusive license to market two of Brickell’s novel compounds in the Republic of Korea. Brickell’s current pipeline includes new chemical entities in dermatology for indications including acne, atopic dermatitis, and hyperhidrosis. “AMOREPACIFIC’s investment in Brickell is a validation of our efficient drug development model,” said Brickell President, Reginald Hardy. “We look forward to working with AMOREPACIFIC and our other investors and partners as we move forward with the development of these novel, first-in-class dermatology compounds, which hold great promise for the marketplace.” Brickell Biotech was founded in 2009 by an executive team with a proven track record of success in drug development and in dermatology. In addition to Reginald Hardy, who has successfully built and sold a number of early stage development companies, including Concordia Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Kadmon Corporation) and Sano Corporation (acquired by Elan), the company is led by David Angulo, M.D., Vice President, Research and Development, formerly Head of Clinical Research at Glaxo/Stiefel; Andrew Sklawer, Vice President, Operations, formerly Head of Operations at Concordia Pharmaceuticals; and Charles Betlach, Ph.D., Vice President, New Products, formerly Head of Research at SANO Corporation. Read more here.
Open English, the leading online language school in Latin America with offices in Miami, Panama, Caracas, Bogota and Sao Paulo, has raised $65 million in its Series D round led by Technology Crossover Venture. Current Open English investors including Redpoint Ventures and Insight Venture Partners also participated in the round. This new capital brings the company’s total venture funding to date to $120 million with a valuation now of $350 million. Open English, which offers live, online classes by native English speakers in 22 countries across Latin America, has grown from 5,000 students in 2010 to more 70,000 current students today. Open English employs more than 2,000 full-time, part-time and contract workers. “There are very few companies that have had that level of funding in ed-tech and certainly for companies in Latin America,” said Andres Moreno, CEO and co-founder. “We’re just really scratching the surface here. We think there is meaningful opportunity to continue to capture market share as people realize this is a better and more cost effective solution than traditional brick-and-mortar schools,” said Moreno, who started the company in Venezuela with his partners with just $700 in 2006. “We will be launching in three new territories outside of Latin America in 2013,” Moreno said, adding that announcements will be coming out in the next few months. Read more here.
PE-Nexus, a Miami startup providing an online deal sourcing platform for the mergers and acquisitions industry, was acquired by publicly traded Intralinks Holdings, Inc., a leading, global technology provider of inter-enterprise content management and collaboration solutions. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. PE-Nexus, founded in 2010 by investment banking professionals, including CEO Anthony Hill, is used by more than 2,000 investment banks, private equity firms and family offices. “We will have the largest deal-sourcing network and the most global,” said Hill. “We have been early movers from the start but this deal will elevate us to category killing status. We couldn’t be more thrilled. We’re very happy we will be able to stay here and build out our presence in Miami.” Read more here.
DemeRX, a Miami startup developing treatments for drug addiction among patients coping with chronic pain, has raised $5.13M in venture financing. The round and investors were not disclosed. DemeRX is developing methods of treating patients for pain by administering noribogaine – a non-addictive medication. DemeRX, cofounded by University of Miami Miller School of Medicine professor of neurology Dr. Deborah Mash in 2010, is the first University of Miami-affiliated company to locate in the University of Miami’s Life Science and Technology Park.
71lbs, a Ft. Lauderdale startup developing parcel shipping data analytics and cost recovery technology for small and medium businesses (SMBS), has raised an undisclosed seed round led by The Tamiami Angel Fund I (TAFI) with participation from IDEA Fund Partners, OCA Ventures, and Excelerate Labs (now Techstars Chicago). The combined funds will enable the company to accelerate product development and expand marketing efforts. In conjunction with the investment, IDEA Fund Partners Managing Partner, John Cambier, will join the board of 71lbs. “We have seen how large shippers operate, but more importantly, have been shippers ourselves, and have experienced their pain points and challenges,” says 71lbs founder Jose Li. Mr. Li has over 15 years of experience in the shipping, logistics and e-commerce industry, running FedEx’s $1 billion retail and e-commerce practice. “Hundreds of thousands of businesses receive late shipments from UPS and FedEx but never receive the reimbursements they are owed. We’re talking a $2 billion business in missed refunds. 71lbs sets out to sift through the systems and shipments, getting customers the refunds they deserve.” “Jose is a veteran of the shipping and logistics industry and has built an innovative company to address the pain points he and other shippers have experienced,” explains Timothy Cartwright, Chairman of the Tamiami Angel Fund and Partner at Fifth Avenue Advisors. “We are happy to now have 71lbs in our investment portfolio and look forward to working alongside Jose and his team as they seek to democratize shipping and logistics for SMBs.” 71lbs is the Tamiami Angel Funds’ third investment in Florida joining PlusOne Solutions and Fracture. 71lbs is IDEA Fund Partners’ second investment in Florida, joining GradSave which was announced earlier this year. The Fund is active in the state, most notably with the Florida IDEA grant program, and maintains an office in Orlando with one Venture Partner and two Operating Partners based in Central Florida.
Heart Genomics Secures Seed Funding Agreement from The Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research’s Seed Capital Accelerator Program
Heart Genomics, a Miami Beach biotechnology startup developing a non-invasive, genomic-based, clinical diagnostic tests for patients with heart failure based on technology licensed from The University of Miami, has secured a seed funding agreement from the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research’s Seed Capital Accelerator Program. Financial terms were not disclosed. The director of UM’s Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute, where the technology was developed, Dr. Joshua Hare, founded Heart Genomics in 2011. “The Heart Genomics tests will allow doctors to improve dramatically their ability to establish cause for heart failure and to allocate advanced therapies,” said Hare. “Heart Genomics, with its genomics-based cardiovascular diagnostics, exemplifies the great work being done right here in Florida,” said Jamie Grooms, Institute Chief Executive Officer. Read more here.
Gui.de, a Miami startup commercializing technology to convert news articles into streaming audio and video, closed a $1M seed round from investors Sapient Capital, Knight Foundation, actor and producer Omar Epps, founder of MTV Bob Pitman, Google’s Steve Schimmel, the Hartman Trust, WAM LLC, Drew Lauter, and Jason Sanders. Guide’s application uses avatars to read the news article and present the accompanying photos and video clips in a single video presentation. Guide was founded in 2012 by CEO Freddie Laker, a former vice president at SapientNitro. Read more here.
Biscayne Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Miami startup commercializing growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) compounds, closed a $1.5M seed round led by The Reich Group, a Miami Beach investment firm, with participation from the company’s founders. Biscayne’s technology is licensed from the University of Miami where it was discovered by Nobel Prize-winner and Biscayne cofounder Andrew Schally. Joshua M. Hare, another Biscayne co-founder and also at the University of Miami, is developing the GHRH technology to repair damaged cardiac tissue. Samuel Reich, managing partner of the Reich Group and formerly with Acuity Pharmaceuticals and OPKO Health, joined Biscayne as CEO and chairman. Read more here.
Host.net, a Boca Raton provider of network infrastructure services focusing on colocation, cloud computing and storage, has been acquired by Canadian private equity firm Novacap in partnership with the company’s management team. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Cofounded in 1996 by CEO Jeffrey Davis, at the time a 17 year old junior at American Heritage High School in Plantation, Host.net operates multiple enterprise-class data centers connected to an extensive fiber-optic backbone delivering Internet, MPLS and layer 2 communications using a wide array of last-mile options. It serves customers in most major metropolitan regions of North America as well as portions of Europe. “Novacap’s investment and partnership enables us to grow to the next stage by adding not only more Data Centers, but continuing to expand our portfolio of services, offering the latest state-of-the-art technologies to our clients and growing the Host.net team to ensure that our world-class “white-glove” customer service approach remains the industry’s benchmark”, said Davis. Read more here.
BlueKite, a Miami startup developing a global cross-border bill payment and direct remittance platform, closed a $1.5M seed round. The round was led by PeopleFund, an Austin, TX private investment fund, with participation from the founding team. The company intends to use the capital to continue to develop their platform. Cofounded in 2012 by CEO Bobby Aitkenhead, the company offers cross-border bill payment for services in countries including Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador and is currently developing integrations into other emerging market countries in South America, Africa and South East Asia. BlueKite’s bill-payment services,targeting consumer emigrants supporting friends and families in their home countries, include electricity, gas, water, internet, cable, fixed and mobile phone and financial services. The BlueKite payment platform is expected to be available to consumers via internet, mobile devices, as well as through a clerk-assisted in-store version. Read more here.