Neurona Therapeutics Raises $41.5M to Advance Neural Network-Rebalancing Cell Therapies for the Treatment of Epilepsy and other Neurological Disorders
– Syndicate includes premier healthcare investors steeped in neurology
– Erica Whittaker, Ph.D., head of UCB Ventures, joins Neurona’s board of directors
– Latest financing brings total proceeds raised to date to $135 million
San Francisco, CA, June 22, 2021 – Neurona Therapeutics Inc., a biotherapeutics company developing neural cell therapies for the treatment of chronic neurological disorders, today announced the successful completion of a $41.5 million financing. Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance the company’s pipeline of wholly-owned, off-the-shelf cell therapies for multiple indications, including a Phase 1/2a clinical study planned to launch later this year for its lead product, NRTX-1001, an inhibitory neuronal cell therapeutic, for the treatment of chronic focal epilepsy.
The financing was co-led by new investor UCB Ventures and current investor The Column Group. Other new investors included Sphera Fund Management, Alexandria Venture Investments, and Ironfire Ventures.
Neurona also announced that Erica Whittaker, Ph.D., head of UCB Ventures, has joined Neurona’s board of directors. Dr. Whittaker began her career at UCB in 2010 and has led UCB Ventures since its inception. Previously at UCB, she held roles as vice president, research strategy & partnering and head of market access & pricing for the European commercial operations. Prior to joining UCB, Erica spent 10 years as a top-ranked biotechnology equity analyst for Merrill Lynch in London. She has a Ph.D. in molecular biology and an MBA.
“It is with great pleasure that we welcome Dr. Whittaker to our Board of Directors. Her deep industry experience in and out of the epilepsy arena will be invaluable to Neurona as we further develop our unique neural cell therapy platform,” said Cory Nicholas, Ph.D., Neurona’s president and chief executive officer. “We are proud of the continued commitment of our current investors and the confidence placed in us by new investors. This funding will support the advancement of our lead candidate, NRTX-1001, into a first-in-human clinical trial we hope to initiate this year for chronic focal-onset epilepsy, an important step toward our ultimate goal of providing safe and effective cell therapies for the treatment of devastating, drug-resistant neurological disorders.”
Dr. Whittaker added, “We see cell therapy as a promising approach for chronic disorders of the nervous system for which current treatment options are not optimal. Neurona has pioneered a novel inhibitory neuron cell therapy candidate and generated compelling preclinical efficacy data. We are excited to support Neurona’s management team in the continued development of NRTX-1001 into the clinic and the progression of the company’s other cell therapy programs for indications of high unmet need.”
NRTX-1001 is a neuronal cell therapeutic derived from human pluripotent stem cells using Neurona’s proprietary manufacturing process. NRTX-1001 comprises interneurons that secrete the inhibitory neurotransmitter, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Delivered as a one-time administration, the interneurons integrate and innervate on-target, providing local long-term GABAergic inhibition to rebalance and repair hyperexcitable neural networks that underlie epilepsy as well as other disorders of the nervous system. Neurona is initially advancing NRTX-1001 for temporal lobe epilepsy, which is the most common type of focal epilepsy.
Neurona’s neural cell therapies have single-dose curative potential. Based on a novel neural cell lineage pioneered by the company’s scientific founders, Neurona has built a robust regenerative platform and is developing neuronal, glial, and gene-edited cell therapy candidates that provide long-term repair of dysfunctional neural networks for multiple neurological disorders. For more information about Neurona, visit www.neuronatherapeutics.com
About UCB Ventures
UCB Ventures is a €150 million strategic corporate venture fund established in 2017 to further strengthen UCB’s ability to create value from novel insights and technologies that can transform the lives of patients suffering from severe diseases. UCB Ventures invests in innovative therapeutics and technology platforms that are early stage and higher risk, in areas adjacent to or even beyond UCB’s therapeutic focus on neurology/neurodegenerative diseases, immunology and muscular skeletal/bone health. UCB Ventures takes an active role in its portfolio companies, contributing expertise in drug discovery, development and operations. Visit www.UCBVentures.com
Investor and Media Contacts:
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