NeuroPhage Pharmaceuticals, a company developing breakthrough therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, has raised $6.4 million in a private equity financing round. Mérieux Développement led the financing with participation from all current Neurophage investors, including Shire.
The new funds will help support ongoing pre-IND studies for lead compound NPT002 and will advance the development of second-generation fusion proteins with the potential for treating several neurodegenerative conditions including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases.
"We are encouraged by NeuroPhage's progress in further elucidating the mechanism of action of NPT002 and advancing the program toward clinical trials, as well as its discovery of new antibody-like fusion proteins with the potential to broadly address neurodegenerative disease markets with enormous unmet need," said Dr. Valérie Calenda, partner at Mérieux Développement. "We believe the company's transformative approach to addressing protein misfolding could make a major contribution to achieving greatly improved treatments for these disabling conditions that affect millions of people worldwide."
Deposits of misfolded proteins in the brain are associated with many neurodegenerative diseases. NPT002 has demonstrated the ability to safely and effectively mediate clearance of misfolded protein deposits (including amyloid-beta, tau and alpha-synuclein) in multiple animal models of neurodegenerative disease, resulting in cognitive and behavioral improvements. Following a successful pre-IND meeting with the FDA, NeuroPhage is conducting pre-IND safety studies and scaling-up cGMP manufacturing activities to support a planned IND filing next year.
"This supplemental financing demonstrates the continued confidence of our investors in the promise of our scientific platform targeted at neurodegenerative diseases," said Jonathan Solomon, president and CEO of NeuroPhage. "We believe that the unique ability of our drug candidates to target multiple neurotoxic protein aggregates in the brain represents a breakthrough approach to slowing or preventing the devastating progression of neurodegenerative diseases."
In addition, NeuroPhage announced that its current director John F. Dee has been named chairman of the board and Kenneth A. Buckfire has joined as a director. Dee brings a wealth of industry experience as the former CEO of several successful neuroscience-focused biotechnology companies that were acquired by major pharmaceutical firms. Buckfire brings strategic and financial experience as vice chairman of Stifel Investment Banking and president of Miller Buckfire & Company, a Stifel Company.