Merck-backed VectorY Therapeutics raises $138M series A to push forward ALS program

VectorY Therapeutics has secured 129 million euros ($138 million) in a series A financing that will help the Dutch biotech advance its preclinical lead program in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The series A round is one of Europe’s biggest private biotech fundraises for the year, according to the Nov. 13 release. The new financing was co-led by EQT Life Sciences and Forbion Growth Opportunities Fund.

Merck & Co.’s MRL Ventures Fund, Insight Partners, ALS Investment Fund, Forbion Ventures, BioGeneration Ventures and another unnamed investor also joined in on the round, which will support the platform company’s development of vectorized antibody therapies designed to treat neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS and Huntington’s disease.

The $138 million follows a $38 million seed financing in 2021. At the time, the biotech touted its mission as tackling ALS and Alzheimer’s disease, with backing from Eli Lilly. 

Now, VectorY plans to use the new funds to move lead antibody program VTx-002 into the clinical. The program is designed to delay disease progression by addressing TDP-43 pathology, which underlies ALS for many patients.

Current ALS treatments only slow disease progression by a few months. Just this fall, the FDA shot down BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics’ application for investigational ALS treatment NurOwn—a therapy that had already been rejected twice. The agency questioned the safety and efficacy of the stem cell therapy candidate, which had failed a phase 3 study back in November 2020.