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Rex Health Ventures Announces Inaugural Investment in N.C. Firm, Aerial BioPharma

Funding to Support Clinical Research of Promising Narcolepsy Drug, Other Products

July 12, 2012

Contact: Alan M. Wolf
(919) 784-4467

RALEIGH, N.C. - Rex Health Ventures, one of the nation's only venture-capital funds managed by a community, nonprofit hospital, is pleased to announce its first investment, a $500,000 equity placement in Aerial BioPharma.

Aerial, a Morrisville, N.C.-based company, was formed in January 2011 by a team of successful, veteran biopharmaceutical entrepreneurs. Aerial's investigational narcolepsy treatment is currently in Phase 2 clinical trials, and initial data shows promise for controlling the symptoms of the chronic, neurological sleep disorder.

In addition to providing the financial investment, Rex may use its five sleep centers across Wake County as clinical trial sites for future studies of Aerial's narcolepsy drug.

"This is precisely why we created Rex Health Ventures and Rex Strategic Innovations: to find and support promising companies with exciting products that could improve the lives of thousands of patients," said Rex President David Strong. "We look forward to a long and successful relationship with the very capable team at Aerial."

Rex Health Ventures' investment is part of an initial $3.8 million equity financing, which Aerial will use for further clinical studies, as well as to pay for research and drug manufacturing. Other participants in the funding round include a group of experienced angel investors based in Chattanooga, Tenn., led by Dr. David Adair, and 3G Capital, led by Rakesh Govindji.

Aerial also is developing an early-stage biologic to treat acute and chronic pain, a product licensed from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Aerial was started by the management team behind Addrenex Pharmaceuticals and Neuronex, two successful Triangle-based start-up companies. The team includes CEO, Dr. Moise A. Khayrallah, President Steve Butts, and Dr. Gary Bream, executive vice president of Clinical Affairs.

"Partnering with Rex Health Ventures, which provides access to the resources of a premier healthcare provider like Rex Healthcare, is a unique opportunity for a company like ours," Khayrallah said. "We look forward to tapping into Rex's network and expertise as we continue clinical work that will lead to new treatments."

Rex Health Ventures is part of the broader initiative known as Rex Strategic Innovations that has the mission of spurring healthcare innovation, improving healthcare delivery and services, and fostering job creation. The fund was started in the spring with an initial $10 million investment from Rex Healthcare.

For more information, visit rexstrategicinnovations.com and rexhealthventures.com.

About Aerial BioPharma

Aerial BioPharma is a development stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing biologics and small molecules for conditions in the Central Nervous System. Aerial is a privately held company, founded in January 2011 by the management team from Addrenex Pharmaceuticals and Neuronex, two successful start-up companies founded in the RTP region of North Carolina. Aerial currently an exciting drug-development pipeline, including treatments for narcolepsy and acute and chronic pain. Aerial has eight permanent employees at its headquarters, located at 9001 Aerial Center Parkway, Suite 110, Morrisville, NC 27560. Visit aerialbio.com for more information.