Aptinyx bags $70M to fund multidrug CNS trial strategy

Bain Capital Life Sciences led Aptinyx's series B with the support of a handful of other new investors.

Aptinyx has raised $70 million. The series B equips the biotech, which spun out of Naurex following its takeover by Allergan, to advance three drugs against neurologic disorders deeper into the clinic.

Illinois-based Aptinyx emerged in 2015 to keep the drug discovery platform and management team that powered Naurex to a $560 million takeout by Allergan active in early-stage work. The startup wrapped up a $65 million series A the following year, setting it up to advance the fruits of its work into the clinic.

Now, Aptinyx has pulled in another $70 million to further its clinical development activities. 

The round positions Aptinyx to continue an active phase 2 trial of NYX-2925 in neuropathic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, and to run an exploratory study assessing its effect on patients with fibromyalgia. Another tranche of cash is earmarked for taking NYX-783 through phase 1 and into a development program designed to establish it as a PTSD treatment. Aptinyx will use the rest of the money to move a third candidate into the clinic. 

Bain Capital Life Sciences led the series B with the support of a handful of other new investors, including HBM Healthcare Investments. Aptinyx also again raised money from New Leaf Venture Partners, Frazier Healthcare Partners, Longitude Capital and a clutch of other existing backers. 

The sizable syndicate was drawn to Aptinyx on the strength of its management team’s track record of developing NMDA receptor modulators and building biotechs that attract big ticket buyouts.  

RELATED: Naurex vets reprise blockbuster NMDA R&D role with $65M startup round

NYX-2925 and NYX-783 both emerged from the chemistry and discovery platform that gave rise to fellow NMDA modulator rapastinel, the depression prospect that underpinned Allergan’s takeover of Naurex. This time around, Norbert Riedel, Ph.D., and the other executives who led Naurex to the Allergan buyout are applying their NMDA modulator know-how to neurological disorders beyond depression.

With NMDA playing a central role in key neurological processes and Aptinyx accruing evidence its drugs are nuanced enough to avoid the side effects triggered by early antagonists of the receptor, the biotech’s backers think it is at the forefront of a new wave of CNS R&D.

“Aptinyx is leading a renaissance in neurotherapeutic drug development with its prolific drug discovery platform, unique mechanism of action relevant in a number of challenging neurologic disorders and ability to quickly advance drug candidates,” Adam M. Koppel, M.D., Ph.D., a managing director at Bain, said in a statement.