Pharmaceutical startup takes £830,000 in funding, supporting ketamine-based anti-depressant

LLB Reporter

Heard of Small Pharma

Small Pharma, a London-based pharmaceutical startup, has announced it has raised £830,000, supplemented by a £140,000 grant from Innovate UK to support the development of a rapid-acting drug for patients experiencing severe depression.

The round was led by Chris Torrance, co-founder of Horizon Discovery and PhoreMost, with the Angel CoFund, pharma sector experts and investors Steve Harris, David Ebsworth and Peter Keen, and Secret Escapes co-founder, Tom Valentine, also participating. The investors were joined by 63 additional angels, following a successful campaign on SyndicateRoom, an angel investing platform with an enviable track-recording in assisting early stage life sciences companies.

Chris Torrance has also joined the board of Small Pharma,alongside Steve Harris who has sat on the board since November 2015, and is now becoming Chairman of the two year-old preclinical biotech. Mr Harris’ wealth of board experience includes Skyephama Plc, now merged with Vectura, and Cyprotex Plc, recently acquired by Evotec.  

Small Pharma, founded in 2015 by Peter Rands, focuses on low-cost pharmaceutical product development and has a unique model for selecting and executing projects centred on detailed intellectual property (IP) strategy. The funding will support Small Pharma’s latest project as it develops an antidepressant based on a derivative of ketamine. With an estimated 615m people suffering from depression and/or anxiety globally, many remain severely undertreated. Small Pharma has identified an innovative solution that could bridge this gap in the treatment of one of the biggest causes of disability worldwide.

Peter Rands, managing director of Small Pharma, commented: “We are extremely excited to team up with a fantastic set of investors, enabling us to take this project further over the next two years.  Depression remains severely undertreated, and with these funds in place we can move forward with a focus on developing our drug candidate to help address the unmet needs of patients with depression.”

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