Spotlight Portfolio Company

A Moment with Tansna Therapeutics Director of Business Development, George Capps

Tansna Therapeutics, Inc., is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing novel drugs to treat epilepsy. Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders. At least 50 million people worldwide suffer from epilepsy, and approximately 30% of these patients are refractory to existing medications, which means that they are unresponsive to therapy or otherwise unable to achieve adequate seizure control. Thus, there is a significant unmet need for more effective anticonvulsant drugs. Tansna is seeking to develop an oral anticonvulsant agent with an acceptable safety profile that will effectively reduce seizure frequency in all epileptic patients, particularly those with refractory epilepsy. Tansna’s goal is to deliver an attractive return to investors via an exit by acquisition no later than the successful completion of a Phase II clinical trial.

Tansna was founded on technology developed by Dr. Max Baker, Ph.D., of the University of Iowa. The company has synthesized 80 small-molecule compounds and identified candidates with profound anti-epileptic activity in several animal models of epilepsy at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke. Importantly, Tansna’s compounds are more effective in the model of therapy-resistant epilepsy than the vast majority of marketed anticonvulsants.

Tansna is led by President & CEO Dr. Robert Karr, M.D., who has two decades of pharmaceutical R&D experience and who has served in senior management positions in several large pharmaceutical companies. Alan MacInnes (Vice President of R&D) and Dr. Rajesh Devraj, Ph.D. (adviser & board member) also have extensive pharmaceutical industry experience. To complement this strong internal expertise, Tansna has engaged Dr. John Talley, Ph.D., inventor of eight marketed drugs collectively accounting for some $40 billion in sales, to drive Tansna’s medicinal chemistry and drug design strategy.