WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) announced on Friday that ReNetX Bio, a biotechnology company in New Haven, has been named “Innovator of the Month.”
ReNetX was founded in 2010 based on innovative technology and research done at Yale University to restore neurologic function after central nervous system (CNS) injury. The technology aims to give hope to patients with spinal cord injuries, stroke and glaucoma by allowing neurons in the brain to regrow by eliminating factors that prevent its regeneration. In 2018, ReNetX, led by CEO Erika Smith, completed Series A funding with Spring Mountain Capital and Connecticut Innovations.
“Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to visit ReNetX Bio and hear about the groundbreaking drug they developed to reverse spinal cord injuries. I’m thrilled to learn that ReNetX has received approval from the FDA to start the clinical trial process. This has the potential to help the hundreds of thousands of people with chronic spinal cord injury, and I’m proud and lucky to say it all started right here in Connecticut thanks to ReNetX,” said Murphy.
"The company's success has been built from resources across Connecticut from the scientific leadership at Yale to the critical early stage capital from Connecticut Innovations to the extensive network of advisers. The foundation of support has enabled the company to potentially revolutionize patient therapy by being the first treatment to reverse brain and spinal cord damage," said Erika Smith, CEO of ReNetX Bio.
Earlier this year, Murphy toured ReNetX to hear firsthand how the partial government shutdown of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) put the company at risk of not being able to submit their new drug for Investigational New Drug (IND) review. This could have sidelined or eliminated over 15 years of research and over $20 million in funding. Earlier this month, it was announced that the FDA approved ReNetX’s IND application to treat patients with chronic spinal cord injury. The company will immediately begin their first-in-human trial for treatment. This breakthrough, innovative drug has the potential to restore sensory or motor function due to spinal cord injury, which is estimated at 300,000 people in the United States.
Murphy believes entrepreneurship and innovation are the building blocks for a strong economy. In the U.S. Senate, he has introduced two bipartisan pieces of legislation to incentivize angel investors to put more money into startup companies – the Angel Tax Credit Act and the Helping Angels Lead Our Startups (HALOS) Act. Startup companies create an average of 2 million jobs each year.