Cambridge, MA-based NeuroPhage Pharmaceuticals has nabbed $12.4 million in new venture funding to back a Phase I trial of its lead therapy for Alzheimer's. Two new investors, MerieuxDeveloppement and Shire, both contributed to the Series B, which brings the fledgling biotech's total venture haul to $19.6 million.
The upstart biotech has been working on a "protein disaggregation" platform which was hatched in the lab of Professor Beka Solomon, Chair for Biotechnology of Neurodegenerative Diseases at Tel Aviv University. NeuroPhage believes that it has the technology to rid the brain of amyloid beta plaque and prevent it from building back up again. Plaque is a common biomarker of Alzheimer's, although there has been plenty of argument over exactly the cause and effect toxic levels of the substance has on the brain.
In an interview with FierceBiotech, CEO Jonathan Solomon underscored that the therapeutic approach they're taking also zeroes in on tau, another potential culprit in Alzheimer's. "If you can address also tau you might be able to alleviate symptoms later in the disease," says the CEO. And the biotech's broader technological scope will give NeuroPhage an opportunity to tackle a number of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's. If all goes according to plan, said Solomon, NeuroPhage will launch the Phase I in about 18 months.
Solomon co-founded the company with Hampus Hillerstrom after the two graduated from Harvard Business School. They decided to base the company in Massachusetts, where they believe they can find the talent needed to grow the company, which now has eight workers in Cambridge and four in Israel.
- here's the NeuroPhage release
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