TauRx adds $10.5M to its trove of unconventional Alzheimer's PhIII cash

Singapore-based TauRx has reeled in $10.5 million from one of its unconventional investors, adding to the $300 million the company says it has already raised to back a slate of Phase III studies for an experimental Alzheimer's therapy.

The money comes from Dundee Corporation, a Canadian outfit which invests primarily in real estate and agriculture. But most of TauRx's reported cash cache has come from offbeat sources. One of its big investors is Genting Corporation, a global gaming consortium which has been blueprinting a multibillion-dollar "megaresort" and gambling mecca in Las Vegas. Genting--which committed a whopping $112 million to TauRx--also invests in cruise lines, oil and gas and palm oil, and now biotech. 

TauRx is using the cash cache to pull off a trio of Phase III studies of LMTX, which targets tau tangles--one of two primary targets in the effort to find some new therapy that can ameliorate the memory-wasting disease. This is the only case of a private biotech company going it alone in Phase III Alheimer's, a pricey field that so far has been dominated by Big Pharma players like Roche ($RHHBY), Eli Lilly ($LLY), Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and Pfizer ($PFE).

TauRx hasn't hesitated to tout its approach over beta amyloid drugs, which have failed in a pair of high profile late-stage studies of mild to moderate patients. Those failures persuaded the FDA to urge developers in the beta amyloid field to focus on early-stage patients, concerned that moderate-stage patients already suffer from irreparable brain damage.

TauRx's website includes a link to a 2008 report from Discover Magazine highlighting early-stage data demonstrating a distinct slowing in the rate of cognitive decline in patients taking its therapy. The treatment was featured next to Dimebon, Medivation's ($MDVN) big Alzheimer's hopeful that went on to an ignominious failure in a big Phase III effort by Pfizer.  

"It is particularly gratifying to receive this follow‐on investment from Dundee," said TauRx co-founder Claude Wischik. "It made its initial investment at a time of critical importance to the development of both TauRx and our Tau aggregation inhibitor, LMTX, and we see this additional investment of USD10.5m as a welcome vote of confidence in the commercial potential of our technology from a highly experienced investor. We continue to believe strongly that Tau aggregation inhibition is the most promising approach to the long‐term treatment of AD and other Tau‐opathies such as bvFTD."

- here's the press release

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