Novartis leads $7M round for ADHD drug upstart Neurovance

Novartis Venture Fund has stepped up to spearhead a $7 million A1 round for the Cambridge, MA-based startup Neurovance. The fledgling biotech was spun out of Euthymics Bioscience under the same management group to handle the development of a new drug for adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and a pipeline of central nervous system prospects.

Its lead drug is EB-1020, which just wrapped up a Phase I study with a positive safety profile and "a wide therapeutic index." Like other ADHD drugs, it's a stimulant, but one the biotech believes won't be subject to the kind of abuse seen with currently used therapies. The biotech says the drug spurs "norepinephrine reuptake inhibition, combined with moderate dopamine reuptake inhibition and very modest serotonin (5-HT) reuptake inhibition."

"Given the favorable initial results showing good tolerability in healthy subjects and the expected pharmacodynamic profile associated with the broad pharmacology of EB-1020, we are now conducting work leading to our first patient trial, a Phase IIa pilot study in adult ADHD planned for next year," said Anthony A. McKinney, the CEO of Neurovance. "Several members of our management group were closely involved in the development of Strattera, the first nonstimulant for ADHD, and we are well positioned to build from that experience." 

Venture Investors, H&Q Healthcare Investors and H&Q Life Sciences Investors, GBS Venture Partners, State of Wisconsin Investment Board and Timothy J. Barberich joined the A round.

- here's the press release