New Eli Lilly-backed neurological disease biotech Nido unveils with $109M

Nido Biosciences is exiting stealth with $109 million in hand to develop new precision medicines for neurological diseases and a lead asset that takes aim at Kennedy’s disease, a rare degenerative disorder.

The $109 million is a combined seed, series A and B fundraise. The series A round was co-led by 5AM Ventures, Abingworth and Bessemer Venture Partners and included participation from Eli Lilly and Osage University Partners. Nido’s series B was led by new investor Bioluminescence Ventures with participation from previous investors and additional unnamed new investors.

The Watertown, Mass.-based biotech was founded by 5AM Ventures’ 4:59 Initiative, the VC’s internal arm that aims to incubate and fund early-stage science like Nido’s. The biotech is looking to better understand human genetics and disease so it can build out a pipeline of small molecule medicines for neurological diseases.

The biotech’s clinical stage candidate, dubbed NIDO-361, is in phase 1 development for patients with spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, a rare neuromuscular disease that begins in adulthood. Also known as Kennedy’s disease, the inherited X-linked disorder causes muscle loss and a decline in motor neuron function.

NIDO-361 is a small molecule Nido has designed to correct transcriptional dysregulation and restore healthy cell function. Phase 1 trials evaluating the asset started in 2022, with a readout anticipated for the coming weeks, a Nido spokesperson told Fierce Biotech.  

The biotech’s other programs focus on a novel target that may have broad clinical potential across neurodegenerative and peripheral inflammatory diseases, according to the company. Nido uses a functional genomics discovery platform based on human cell lines to identify new therapeutic targets for multiple diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal disorders (FTD).

“Nido Bio was founded on the premise that human genetics and human tissue-based drug discovery efforts could not only inform but transform how we develop neurological drugs to treat patients suffering from devastating diseases,” Jamil Beg, founding CEO of Nido Bio and partner at 5AM Ventures, said in a May 15 release. “Since its founding, the company has rapidly identified novel biology, advanced a program into the clinic, and built a world-class team of biotech operators.”

The biotech is now helmed by Jeremy Springhorn, Ph.D., who joined as CEO in April 2021. Before Nido, Springhorn held several leadership roles at Syros Pharmaceuticals, Flagship Pioneering and Alexion Pharmaceuticals.