Merck, Amgen bump up Series B to $42.4M for Akili

Akili Labs gets another infusion of Series B financing.

Akili Interactive Labs, the Boston-based startup developing nonpharmacological therapeutics for various cognitive disorders like autism and Alzheimer’s disease, got an $11.9 million boost in funding, raising its total Series B proceeds to $42.4 million.

Joining existing Akili investors in the latest capital infusion are Merck Ventures and Amgen Ventures. The money will be used for continued product development and infrastructure as Akili products approach market launch, the company said.

Akili’s device is based on the Project:EVO technology that the company in-licensed from the University of California, San Francisco, laboratory of Dr. Adam Gazzaley. The product is designed to directly target a person’s core neurological ability to process multiple streams of information. In so doing, the technology opens up a path that may improve attention, working memory and other executive functions at the same time it allows for monitoring and screening of a range of neurological and psychiatric disorders.

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The company has three versions of its clinical game technology, which will be a mobile-first technology for smartphones and mobile tablets.

“There exists a tremendous opportunity to deliver medicine that is efficacious and addresses the needs for safe, non-pharmacological treatments in many neurological and mental health patient populations,” Eddie Martucci, co-founder and CEO of Akili, said in a statement.

In addition to Merck and Amgen, Akili also has relationships with Pfizer ($PFE) and Shire Pharmaceuticals ($SHPG).

Akili’s partnership with Pfizer is primarily focused on Alzheimer's with hope that the technology eventually will be able to identify a biomarker or cognitive endpoint for individuals at risk for Alzheimer's disease. The company also has partnered with the nonprofit Autism Speaks, and is conducting clinical trials of its cognitive assessment and personalized treatment video game.

- here’s the release

Read more: 
Startup Akili partners with nonprofit Autism Speaks to test video game 
Pfizer trialing video game designed to diagnose Alzheimer's 
Viehbacher wades into the startup world, joining PureTech in his first post-Sanofi move

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