CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — SAGE Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company developing novel medicines to treat central nervous system (CNS) diseases, today announced a $20 million Series B financing from investors ARCH Venture Partners and Third Rock Ventures, bringing the total raised to $57.8 million since launch in 2011. The Series B financing will accelerate clinical and preclinical efforts to continue to advance SAGE's pipeline programs in CNS disorders.
In conjunction with the financing, Robert Nelsen, co-founder and managing director of ARCH Ventures, will join the SAGE board of directors. Mr. Nelsen has played a significant role in the early sourcing, financing and development of more than 30 companies at ARCH, a venture capital firm focused on early-stage technology companies. He brings deep industry, strategic and entrepreneurial expertise, and will provide critical guidance to SAGE as it enters clinical development.
"SAGE has made tremendous progress since launching two years ago, and we expect to have as many as five programs in clinical studies by this time next year," said Jeffrey Jonas, M.D., chief executive officer of SAGE. "This funding will support our continued evolution into a development and commercial stage company that could transform the treatment landscape for a broad range of serious CNS diseases. We are also gaining a very skilled board member in Bob Nelsen and look forward to adding his strategic leadership to our team."
"SAGE has built a robust product engine that is backed by strong clinical data. Its approach to restoring the natural balance of brain activity has the potential to address a number of debilitating CNS disorders, including traumatic brain injury, Fragile X, depression and pain, where there is a dire need for better therapies," said Mr. Nelsen. "I am excited to help the SAGE team develop and deliver products that make a real difference for patients."
Although there is undeniable unmet medical need for new treatments for CNS disorders, there has been little recent success in developing safe and effective therapies. SAGE's approach of allosteric modulation of GABAA and NMDA receptors is highly differentiated. The company's proprietary Positive and Negative Allosteric Modulator (PANAM) platform enables the development of therapies that "fine tune" activity in the brain and nervous system, while also limiting the side effects and off-target toxicity seen with many traditional neuroscience drugs.
SAGE has built a robust product pipeline initially focused on acute and orphan CNS indications with strong preclinical to clinical translation and accelerated development timelines that could allow the company to rapidly bring important medicines to patients. SAGE envisions developing commercial stage products for CNS disorders and forging strategic collaborations to support the broad potential of its proprietary platform.
The company also announced today the expansion of its Series A financing, which was completed in September, from $35 million to $37.8 million. The financing was led by Third Rock with the addition of ARCH as a new investor.
About SAGE Therapeutics
SAGE Therapeutics is a neuroscience-focused company developing therapies to treat CNS specialty and orphan diseases. The company has identified several product opportunities with clear and accelerated paths to regulatory approval. SAGE's initial pipeline includes programs in status epilepticus, anesthesia, Fragile X Syndrome and traumatic brain injury, where CNS drugs poorly address the areas of most urgent patient need and are often accompanied by considerable side effects. The company's robust allosteric modulator chemistry platform – called the Positive and Negative Allosteric Modulator (PANAM) platform – has generated multiple new chemical entities supported by promising preclinical data with the potential to lead to products with multiple indications over the next several years. SAGE Therapeutics is a private company launched in 2011 by a proven team of R&D leaders, renowned CNS experts and Third Rock Ventures. For more information, please visit www.sagerx.com.