Neumora Explodes onto Neuro Scene with $500 Million and Amgen Alliance
Fresh out of the gates with $500 million in financing, neuroscience-focused Neumora Therapeutics forged a strategic partnership with Amgen to develop and commercialize assets owned by the pharma giant, targeting casein kinase 1 delta and glucocerebrosidase for neurodegenerative diseases.
Massachusetts-based Neumora launched a portfolio of eight clinical, preclinical and discovery stage programs from internal discovery efforts and the assets from the agreement with Amgen, which backed the company with a $100 million equity investment. Neumora intends to develop precision medicines for complex brain diseases that have, so far, seen high failure rates by other drug development companies.
Neumora’s data science platform is designed to identify and define patient subtypes by mapping the mechanisms that drive brain diseases. Ahead of its launch this morning, the company secured multiple open-source and proprietary datasets across neuropsychiatric disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. With those tools, Neumora can then match patient populations with targeted therapeutics. This can de-risk clinical trials and improve patient outcomes.
Paul L. Berns, cofounder, chairman and CEO of Neumora, said the company was founded to approach drug development in a “smarter, more precise way.” Berns said they want to take the same approach to neurological diseases that oncology-focused companies took when delving into cell biology of cancer tumors. By doing so, those drug developers were better able to target cancer, and Berns said Neumora wants to do the same with diseases of the brain.
“Neumora is built at scale to pioneer potential best-in-class precision medicines for brain diseases, and we believe that integrating data sciences is the key,” Berns said in a statement.
For its partnership with Amgen, the companies will harness Neumora’s Data Biopsy Signatures and Precision Phenotypes technology and combine it with assets generated by Amgen’s deCODE genetics and human data research capabilities. Those assets, now under license by Neumora, includes
NMRA-140, a KOR antagonist currently in Phase II development for treating patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) with anhedonia. Additionally, Neumora gains the Phase I anxiety therapeutic NMRA-511, a V1aR antagonist. Other assets include a sleep disorder medication and other assets aimed at undisclosed neuropsychiatric disorders.
Berns said Neumora is excited to expand its pipeline with potential best-in-class programs targeting casein kinase 1 delta and glucocerebrosidase for neurodegenerative diseases. He added that with Amgen’s support, Neumora is poised to become a pioneer in precision drug development for brain diseases. They are looking forward to working with Amgen to advance promising new medicines for patients in need of better treatment options.
Dr. David M. Reese, Amgen’s head of research and development, said the collaboration with Neumora leverages his company’s “unique capabilities” from deCODE and Neumora’s “focus and expertise in brain diseases” to discover and develop potentially best-in-class precision therapies.
“Although Amgen is not currently engaged in neuroscience research and early development internally, this approach addresses our commitment to remain engaged in neuroscience through external collaborations, and we are excited to work with Neumora to propel R&D for brain diseases into the future and advance promising new medicines,” Reese said in a statement.
In addition to Amgen's $100 million equity investment, Neumora’s $500 million launch was supported by Series A investors led by ARCH Venture Partners. Other participants included Alexandria Venture Investments, Altitude Life Science Ventures, Catalio Capital Management, F-Prime Capital, Invus, Logos Capital, Mubadala Capital, Newpath Partners, Polaris Partners, re.Mind Capital (Apeiron), Softbank Vision Fund 2, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company) and Waycross Ventures (Byers Capital). Additionally, the Series A included support from other undisclosed investors.
“We built Neumora to pioneer the future of precision medicines for brain diseases. Traditional neuroscience R&D is constrained by a ‘one-size-fits-all’ treatment approach, often leading to underwhelming efficacy, high placebo response and routine clinical trial failures. Patients deserve better,” Kristina Burow, co-founder and director of Neumora and managing director at ARCH Venture Partners said in a statement.