Muna Therapeutics Raises $73 Million to Advance Neurodegenerative Disease Focus
Muna Therapeutics, a private Denmark- and Belgium-based biopharmaceutical company founded in 2020, officially closed a $73 million Series A financing round. The company launches with the new funding to advance its focus on first-in-class small molecule therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.
The Series A financing was led by Novo Holdings in conjunction with Sofinnova Partners, DROIA Ventures and LSP Dementia Fund. Additional investors who joined the financing round included Polaris Partners, Polaris Innovation Fund, Sanofi Ventures, V-Bio Ventures and VIB.
Muna’s primary focus—neurodegenerative diseases—lead to disability and death of millions of people worldwide. There are currently no curative therapies available for many neurodegenerative conditions, a problem Muna hopes to address.
The company was founded last year by Professor Simon Glerup, a progranulin pathway thought leader, along with his research team at Aarhus University and investor Novo Holdings. A strategic partnership was established on additional targets between Muna and Milan-based Axxam S.p.A, a minority shareholder in the company.
Muna is included in Novo Seeds’ efforts to create new biotech companies working on “groundbreaking” scientific endeavors. “Novo Seeds is delighted to welcome a global syndicate of first-class investors who strongly believe in Muna’s world-leading science, experienced leadership team, and its potential to develop innovative treatments for neurodegenerative diseases,” said Morten Graugaard Døssing, Novo Holdings’ chairman of the board and partner. “We are honored to co-lead this round with Sofinnova Partners, Droia Ventures and LSP Dementia Fund—a tremendous joint effort to bring Muna to the next level.”
Muna also collaborated with K5 Therapeutics, a company cofounded last year by Professor Bart De Strooper from VIB-KU Leuven in Belgium, in addition to investors VIB and Droia Ventures. As such, the combined company Muna Therapeutics will be based in both Copenhagen, Denmark, and Leuven, Belgium.
Leaders of the company include Chief Executive Officer Rita Balice-Gordon, Ph.D., and Chief Operating Officer Anders Hinsby, both of whom are Novo Seeds’ entrepreneurs-in-residence. Balice-Gordon was recently named to the board of directors of California-based Capsida Biotherapeutics.
Muna boasts an “innovative all-in-human target discovery and validation platform” based on proprietary knowledge regarding molecular pathways in various brain cell types underlying disease pathology and neurodegeneration resilience. The company also created a small molecule drug discovery engine leveraging computational chemistry driven by artificial intelligence, high-resolution target structural approaches and cell-based screening.
The company plans to use the new funding to move forward with its small molecule programs on neuronal dysfunction repair, neuroinflammation resolution and neuroprotection restoration.
“We are in an era of rapid advancement in understanding how to slow or stop the relentless progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Frontotemporal Dementia that devastate cognition and quality of life of patients as well as caregivers,” Balice-Gordon said in a statement. “Our team is committed to leveraging our collective expertise to deliver impactful disease modifying small molecule therapeutics to patients as rapidly as possible.”