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NEA leads $16m investment in orphan drug accelerator

New Enterprise Associates is betting on an accelerator concept to solve the de-risking riddle inherent to orphan drugs — that is, those targeting rare diseases — and identifying promising orphan drug candidates and bringing them to market.

The Maryland venture giant, along with Pfizer Venture Investments and Alexandria Real Estate Equities, on Thursday morning announced a $16 million investment that will launch Cambridge, Mass.-based Cydan LLC, which will scour academia and industry for candidates "with well-understood biology and proof-of-concept data in in vivo models," and build companies and strategic partnerships around those candidates.

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