CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- NeuroPhage Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a company developing breakthrough therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, today announced that it raised $6.4 million in a private equity financing round. Merieux Developpement led the financing with participation from all current Neurophage investors, including Shire LLC. The new funds will help support ongoing pre-IND studies for lead compound NPT002 and will advance the development of second-generation fusion proteins with the potential for treating several neurodegenerative conditions including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases. Separately, NeuroPhage announced that current Director John F. Dee has been named Chairman of the Board and Kenneth A. Buckfire has joined as a Director.
"We are encouraged by NeuroPhage's progress in further elucidating the mechanism of action of NPT002 and advancing the program toward clinical trials, as well as its discovery of new antibody-like fusion proteins with the potential to broadly address neurodegenerative disease markets with enormous unmet need," said Dr. Valerie Calenda, Partner at Merieux Developpement. "We believe the company's transformative approach to addressing protein misfolding could make a major contribution to achieving greatly improved treatments for these disabling conditions that affect millions of people worldwide."
Deposits of misfolded proteins in the brain are associated with many neurodegenerative diseases. NPT002 has demonstrated the ability to safely and effectively mediate clearance of misfolded protein deposits (including amyloid-beta, tau and alpha-synuclein) in multiple animal models of neurodegenerative disease, resulting in cognitive and behavioral improvements. Following a successful pre-IND meeting with the FDA, NeuroPhage is conducting pre-IND safety studies and scaling-up cGMP manufacturing activities to support a planned IND filing next year.
"This supplemental financing demonstrates the continued confidence of our investors in the promise of our scientific platform targeted at neurodegenerative diseases," said Jonathan Solomon, President and Chief Executive Officer of NeuroPhage. "We believe that the unique ability of our drug candidates to target multiple neurotoxic protein aggregates in the brain represents a breakthrough approach to slowing or preventing the devastating progression of neurodegenerative diseases."
NeuroPhage scientists have recently shown that the NPT002 mechanism of action is based on a novel general amyloid interaction motif (GAIM). Motifs define distinctive and recurring components of protein structure and interaction that can have biological significance. The discovery of GAIM has allowed the creation of new antibody-like fusion proteins that have the broad neurodegenerative disease-targeting ability of NPT002.
In connection with the financing, NeuroPhage announced that John F. Dee has been named Chairman and Kenneth A. Buckfire has joined the Board as a Director. Mr. Dee brings a wealth of industry experience as the former CEO of several successful neuroscience-focused biotechnology companies that were acquired by major pharmaceutical firms. Mr. Buckfire brings extensive strategic and financial experience as Vice Chairman of Stifel Investment Banking and President of Miller Buckfire & Company, a Stifel Company.
Solomon added, "We welcome John Dee as Chairman and Ken Buckfire as a new board member. We expect their extensive experience in financing and growing successful biotechnology companies will be invaluable as we advance our unique product pipeline toward clinical testing."
NeuroPhage is a pioneering biotechnology company, located in Cambridge, MA, whose mission is to advance the treatment of chronic neurodegenerative diseases associated with protein misfolding, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. The company is applying its unique technology platform to develop a pipeline of drug candidates consisting of broadly acting agents that simultaneously reduce levels of multiple pathogenic protein aggregates in the brain. This technology should provide significant therapeutic advantages over single target approaches and has broad applications for treating Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and other indications associated with protein pathologies of the CNS. The company was founded in 2007 by a Cambridge-based team, together with inventor Professor Beka Solomon, Chair for Biotechnology of Neurodegenerative Diseases at Tel Aviv University. More information can be found at: www.neurophage.com.
About Merieux Developpement
Merieux Developpement is the private equity arm of the French group, Institut Merieux, which has 12,000 employees worldwide and generated revenues of EUR 1.7B in 2011. Merieux Developpement invests in the healthcare sector on a global basis, working alongside entrepreneurs whose products and services can bring genuine advances to the health of patients and consumers worldwide, offering them access to its industry expertise and global network. More information can be found at: www.merieux-developpement.com.
Shire enables people with life-altering conditions to lead better lives. Through our deep understanding of patients' needs, we develop and provide healthcare in the areas of: Behavioral Health and Gastro Intestinal conditions, Rare Diseases, Regenerative Medicine as well as other symptomatic conditions treated by specialist physicians. We aspire to imagine and lead the future of healthcare, creating value for patients, physicians, policymakers, payors and our shareholders. More information can be found at: www.shire.com.
SOURCE NeuroPhage Pharmaceuticals, Inc.