January 2016 E-News Wrap-up from the Georgia Research Alliance

Clearside Bio files registration for proposed IPO

Clearside Biomedical, a clinical-stage biopharma company developing drugs to treat blinding diseases of the eye, filed a registration statement this month with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed Initial Public Offering. The company, which received investment from GRA Venture Fund, LLC, plans to list its common stock on the NASDAQ Global Market under the ticker symbol CLSD. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have yet to be determined. Clearside's microneedle drug delivery system was developed through a collaboration between Georgia Tech and Emory University • More on the proposed IPO >

Philanthropic gifts build on GRA's investment in capacity 

It’s well known that GRA’s strategic investments in talent and infrastructure help Georgia’s universities secure major federal research grants. 

But this leverage also applies to private funding sources, as evidenced by two philanthropic gifts announced this month to strengthen university research.

The first was made by the Marcus Foundation — a $15.7 million grant to Georgia Tech to launch a research center that will develop ways to manufacture high-quality living cells used in cell-based therapies. The new Marcus Center for Therapeutic Cell Characterization and Manufacturing (MC3M) will help ensure consistent production and quality testing for the living cells, which have great therapeutic potential. 

The $23 million center is believed to be the first of its kind in the U.S., and Georgia Tech provided funding from other sources in addition to GRA’s investment. 

The recruitment of an internationally recognized leader in cystic fibrosis research was the second example of how a GRA-related investment can help attract a private gift. GRA Eminent Scholar Eric Sorscher arrived at Emory University last year; a gift from Eva and Charles Lipman announced this month will contribute substantially to his efforts to develop new treatments and pursue a cure for CF.

“A cross-section of funding sources is essential to efforts to expand research capacity at our universities,” said Susan Shows, GRA’s Senior Vice President. “By making precisely targeted investments in top scientists and sophisticated technology, GRA gives our state’s public and private universities a crucial element that’s often needed to build wider, deeper support.”
   • More on the new Marcus center >
   • More about the Lipman gift at Emory >

GRA welcomes new Trustees at January meeting

Three new corporate members joined GRA’s esteemed Board of Trustees in January: Martin L. Flanagan, President and CEO of Invesco; James M. Hull, Managing Principal of Hull Property Group; and Robert S. Jepson, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Jepson Associates, Inc. They were joined by GRA Eminent Scholar Scott Jackson of the University of Georgia, who replaces Ross Ethier as the representing Scholar on the Board.
• See who’s on GRA’s Board of Trustees >
• Hear what the Trustees say about GRA >

Google likes the sound of Pindrop, leads $75M round

Pindrop Security's "phone printing" technology to detect phone fraud has caught the attention of Google Capital, which announced this month it is leading a $75 million Series C round of investment in the company. Returning in the round are investors Andreesen Horowitz and Institutional Venture Partners (IVP). Total outside investment in Pindrop now exceeds $122 million, and the company counts GRA Venture Fund, LLC as one of its early backers. • Fortune Magazine's coverage of the announcement >

Scholar IDs how body can control inflammation

The runaway inflammation triggered by viruses and bacteria in the human body can be brought under control, a GRA Eminent Scholar has found. J.D. Li of Georgia State University discovered that a protein called CYLD plays a critical role in controlling inflammatory responses brought on by invading pathogens. The protein essentially functions as a "brake pedal" by turning off another protein that regulates the inflammation defense against the pathogens. The discovery may open the door to new treatments for uncontrolled inflammation. • More >
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