Neumora Raises Additional $112M to Advance Neuro Pipeline (Updated)
The financing will advance the company’s precision medicine candidates for neuropsychiatric disorders and neurodegenerative diseases, including its lead asset, NMRA-140.
NMRA-140, a kappa opioid receptor antagonist, is in a Phase IIa trial for the treatment of major depressive disorder.
MDD is estimated to impact over twenty-one million adults in the United States. It’s estimated that nearly 70% of patients fail to achieve remission with first-line treatment and approximately 40% of patients discontinue treatment due to loss of response or adverse side effects. There remains a clear and significant unmet need in this space, Josh Pinto, chief financial officer of Neumora told BioSpace.
“We are excited about NMRA-140, a kappa opioid receptor antagonist in Phase 2a development for the treatment of MDD, particularly due to recent positive clinical data from another program in this mechanism class, which we believe validates this approach as a novel mechanism for MDD,” he said.
Other developmental assets came to Neumora through its strategic partnership with Amgen, which was announced last year.
The partnership harnesses Neumora’s Data Biopsy Signatures and Precision Phenotypes technology to develop NMRA-140, as well as NMRA-511, a V1aR antagonist now under study in Phase I for anxiety disorders.
Pinto said modulation of the M4 muscarinic receptor represents a novel and potentially best-in-class approach to treating schizophrenia. The company’s leadership believes M4 receptor-positive allosteric modulators, such as its NMRA-266 program, “have the potential to deliver the antipsychotic efficacy associated with targeting this receptor subtype with enhanced tolerability and adherence, which has historically been a challenge in treating schizophrenia.”
The deal also brought Neumora an investigational sleep-disorder treatment. California-based Amgen backed the company with a $100 million equity investment.
In addition to NMRA-140 and NMRA-511, Neumora’s pipeline also includes NMRA-266, an M4 muscarinic receptor-positive allosteric modulator.
Neumora gained NMRA-266 earlier this year through a licensing deal with Vanderbilt University. It's believed muscarinic receptor-targeting compounds have broad potential in schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders, including dementia-related psychosis.
Neumora’s approach to treating neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders is supported by its data-driven precision neuro platform.
The company’s platform is capable of cutting through brain disease heterogeneity to match the right patient populations to targeted therapeutics, according to its website.
When it launched last year, Neumora representatives said its approaches aim to improve the “one-size-fits-all” treatment approach … that, so far, has been underwhelming in these indications.
The company’s preclinical pipeline includes neurodegeneration programs focused on Parkinson’s Disease and ALS.
The company has made a “considerable amount of progress in a short time” and the latest financing reflects the company’s urgency in addressing the “relative lack of progress and innovation in neuroscience,” said Paul L. Berns, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Neumora in a statement.
With the Series B round, Neumora is well-financed, with more than $650 million raised to date. Beyond the advancement of pipeline candidates, funds from the latest financing will also be used to support further development of the company's precision neuroscience platform.
“We have taken an opportunistic approach to our financing strategy given our strong capital position. We are well positioned with very strong shareholder support and optionality in how we continue to fund our business, and this round was catalyzed by existing shareholders looking to further support Neumora based on continued progress and de-risking in our pipeline, and interest from new investors in supporting Neumora’s vision,” Pinto said.
The round was led by Abu Dhabi Growth Fund, Altitude Life Science Ventures, Amgen and ARCH Venture Partners, as well as other existing and new investors.