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GRAND ANGELS GROWS WITH STRATEGIC BIOTECH AND LIFE SCIENCE INVESTMENTS

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Sept. 2, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- For more than 10 years, Grand Angels, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based investment group, has led Michigan's entrepreneurial ecosystem with strategic investments in biological sciences and technology. It was among the first investors in ProNAi Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: DNAI), a clinical-stage oncology company pioneering a novel class of therapeutics based on its proprietary DNAi technology platform, which closed its IPO on July 21, 2015.

Grand Angels recent biotech investments include Tetra Discovery Partners, a pharmaceutical startup developing treatments for memory loss and cognitive impairment, HistoSonics, a non-invasive, image-guided therapeutic ultrasound, and Gemphire Therapeutics, which is developing a LDL-cholesterol lowering drug gemcabene.

"The pharmaceuticals and bio-economy are notoriously risky industries for conventional venture capital investments investors, but their work has significance, which is why Grand Angels and Michigan's angel network is so important, said Paul D'Amato, managing director of Trout Creek Ventures and director of Grand Angels' Fund II. "The return on investment for a drug development company takes time, angel capital is doing well by doing good, and recent exits show the potential impact of that patience."

ProNAi Therapeutics recently announced the closing of its initial public offering of 9,315,000 shares of its common stock at a public offering price of $17.00 per share. The stock immediately began trading on the NASDAQ at $28.68/share. The Grand Angels were among its earliest investors in 2005.

Grand Angels has made additional biotech investments since that time. The group most recently closed on three organizations, including:

  • Gemphire Therapeutics closed a $2.8 million convertible bridge on July 31, 2015. Grand Angels invested alongside existing angel investors and local funds. With the investment, Gemphire will continue to fund the initiation of Phase 2b clinical development and manufacturing activities for gemcabene.
  • HistoSonics, closed a $3 million bridge round that will fund an extended cohort round of 15 subjects to expand testing its non-invasive, histotripsy platform technology, which will replace traditional surgical procedures.
  • Tetra Discovery Partners closed a $1 million round, led by Grand Angels Fund II and supported by Invest Michigan, Biosciences Research & Commercialization Center, Muskegon Angels and J &J Investments. Tetra will use the funds to accelerate development as it prepares for clinical trials in Fall 2015.

"Michigan has a tighter market for capital, so only stronger and leaner companies are making it through the first stage of fundraising. During the past 10 years, the angel investment community has been instrumental in advancing these higher risk but higher reward companies in Michigan's life sciences economy," said Mina Sooch, CEO of Gemphire Therapeutics. "Grand Angels' investments have made a significant difference for these companies along the path to their current success."

With its latest funding, Grand Angels has invested more than $18 million in 34 companies since its inception.

About Grand Angels

Grand Angels is committed to using financial, intellectual and social capital to build a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem that enhances the economic development of West Michigan. The organization directs its investments on startups that have a positive effect on our region through business growth, job creation, and the attraction and retention of local talent. In addition to its early stage investment activity, Grand Angels members serve on panels, judge pitch competitions, and mentor entrepreneurs through organizations including the Accelerate Michigan competition, Hope Entrepreneurship Initiative, and Grand Valley State University Seidman College of Business Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Details at www.grandangels.org.

CONTACT: Brian Burch for Grand Angels 616-828-9813 brian@burchpartners.comSource: Grand Angels