TODAY’S HEADLINES:

deltanoid-logo.gifDeltanoid Pharma raises $12M for kidney drugs — Deltanoid Pharmaceuticals, a Madison, Wis., drug developer focused on new forms of vitamin D for use against kidney disease, raised $12 million in a second funding round. The company’s PDF release is here.

Investors in the round included the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), a tech-transfer organization associated with the University of Wisconsin, and two VC firms, Mason Wells and Venture Investors. Deltanoid is developing new “analogues” of the vitamin D molecule with possible utility in treating osteoporosis and kidney disease. The company has licensed one drug candidate to Pfizer, and so far has raised a total of $16 million.

covx-logo.gifCovX, cancer and diabetes-drug biotech, acquired by Pfizer — CovX, a La Jolla, Calif., biotech developing synthetic molecules with potential uses in treating cancer and diabetes, was acquired by Pfizer as part of the drugmaker’s expansion into biotech. Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed; the release is here.

CovX has been pursuing an interesting attempt to build new drugs out of the short protein fragments known as peptides. While peptides can have potent drug-like effects against various biological “target” molecules, they are often broken down quickly in the body. CovX has developed a new class of molecules that it calls — a bit too cutely — CovX-bodies, which purportedly combine the efficacy of peptides with the longer lasting effects of monoclonal antibodies, although of course it doesn’t specify exactly how.

The company’s pipeline includes two inhibitors of angiogenesis — or blood-vessel formation — which might be useful in treating cancer, as well as molecules that mimic metabolic processes that go awry in diabetes. None of its drug candidates have yet entered human testing.