Prilenia Therapeutics announced that is has raised $62.5M in a Series A financing round to fund late stage trials of pridopidine in patients with Huntington’s disease (HD) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The funding round was led by Forbion and included new investors, Morningside Venture Investments and Sectoral Asset Management. Existing investors Talisman Capital Partners and Genworks 2 also participated in the round. The Series A financing brings the total capital invested in Prilenia Therapeutics since it was established in September 2018 to $84.5M.
Pridopidine is a highly selective sigma-1 receptor (S1R) agonist. The S1R regulates key cellular processes relevant to neurodegenerative diseases, and is implicated in cellular differentiation, neuroplasticity, neuroprotection, and cognitive functioning of the brain.
The Series A proceeds will be used to fund phase 3 trials for HD and ALS, both anticipated to begin in H2 of 2020. In HD, pridopidine was shown to maintain functional capacity in early HD patients, as measured by the Total Functional Capacity (TFC) score. This effect was most prominent in early stage HD patients (HD1 and HD2), for which pridopidine 45 mg bid showed significant functional benefit. Previous clinical data also suggest that S1R is a promising target for ALS therapy, indicating that S1R activation may enhance bulbar and speech function in ALS patients. Pridopidine was recently selected from an international competition of over 30 potential therapeutics for inclusion in the first ever ALS platform trial, led by the Healey Center for ALS at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Prilenia Therapeutics acquired the rights to pridopidine from Teva Pharmaceutical in September of 2018. Teva previously acquired the rights all rights, assets and obligations of pridopidine from NeuroSearch in October of 2012.