Cerecor raises $32 million to develop drug that treats severe depression

Baltimore biopharmaceutical firm Cerecor Inc. has raised $32 million in a Series B fundraising round led by New Enterprise Associates, Apple Tree Partners and MPM Capital.

The Series B round brings the company’s total funding to at least $54 million. Cerecor in 2012 reported a $22 million Series A round.

Cerecor specializes in developing drugs to treat neuropsychological disorders, such as anxiety and depression. The company plans to use the new funding in part for a Phase 2 clinical trial of a drug intended for people with severe depression who have become suicidal. The new drug would take effect faster than those currently on the market and would not have the side effect of making patients feel high.

Available medications often take between six and eight weeks to begin working.

“When you’re that sick you can’t wait that long,” said CEO Dr. Blake Paterson.

Paterson, the former CEO of Alba Therapeutics, founded Cerecor in 2011 with Dr. Solomon Snyder, Barbara Slusher and Isaac Blech. The group saw an opportunity to invest in research and development of drugs for neurological disorders that big pharmaceutical companies were no longer focused on. Large drug companies had stopped investing lots of money in this type of research because trials were not going well.