A preclinical drug aimed at preventing misfolded proteins from getting tangled in the brain and potentially causing neurodegenerative disease has drawn another $6.4 million from investors.
The latest round for NeuroPhage Pharmaceuticals was led by Merieux Developpement, the private equity arm of the French public health group Institut Merieux. NeuroPhage says all existing investors also participated, including Shire LLC. With the new capital, the biotech says it will continue preclinical work on its disease-altering drug for Alzheimer’s
Accumulations of the proteins beta-amyloid and tau in the brain are considered the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. There are a handful of different approaches in clinical development that target these proteins from companies including Genentech and Eli Lilly. NeuroPhage’s treatment, NPT002, is designed to block the tangling of these misfolded proteins and clear them. It’s demonstrated cognitive and behavioral improvements in multiple animal models, the company says.
Following a successful pre-IND meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the company says it’s scaling up manufacturing to support a planned IND filing and initial clinical trial in 2014.
The drug platform has other potential applications in Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. NeuroPhage says the funding will also support continued development of second-generation drugs in other applications.
Cambridge-based NeuroPhage has raised $35 million since its inception in 2006.