Roche-backed Minoryx raises €21M to expand CNS R&D

Minoryx has raised €21.3 million in series B funding. The round sets Minoryx up to expand clinical development of a neurodegenerative disease drug that has attracted the interest of organizations including Roche Venture Fund.

Spain’s Minoryx established itself as an emerging player in neurodegeneration R&D in 2015 when it raised a €19.4 million series A round to take PPAR-gamma agonist MIN-102 into clinical trials. Three years later, Minoryx has advanced MIN-102 into a phase 2/3 trial in patients with the inherited spinal cord condition adrenomyeloneuropathy.

With the phase 2/3 trial heading toward a 2020 readout, Minoryx wants to assess the potential of MIN-102 in more indications.

“The proceeds of the round will allow the company to demonstrate the potential of MIN-102 in new indications,” Minoryx CEO Marc Martinell said in a statement. “These indications for MIN-102 include neuroinflammatory conditions such as cerebral ALD as well as multiple neurodegenerative diseases.”

Belgian VC shop Fund+ has facilitated Minoryx’s plan by leading a series B round that attracted the support of existing backers including Ysios Capital and Roche Venture Fund. The syndicate’s willingness to bankroll Minoryx’s expansion plans reflects the early promise shown by MIN-102 and the evidence suggesting PPAR agonists have neuroprotective effects.

Researchers have been studying the neuroprotective potential of PPAR agonists since the early 2000s and drugs from Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline and others have been through early-stage assessments in this context.

However, while PPAR-gamma agonists including GlaxoSmithKline’s Avandia have come to market in diabetes—and promptly run into trouble—the CNS potential of the class remains unrealized. Minoryx thinks MIN-102 has the attributes to unlock this potential. Crucially, results from a phase 1 trial and other studies suggest MIN-102 crosses the blood-brain barrier and interacts with its target.