Novartis AG-Backed Startup Annexon Bioscience Nabs $34 Million Series A

Published: Dec 15, 2014

Novartis AG-Backed Startup <b>Annexon Bioscience</b> Nabs $34 Million Series A
December 15, 2014
By Riley McDermid, Breaking News Sr. Editor

Bay Area biotech startup Annexon Bioscience said Monday that is has closed a $34 million Series A-1 led by Novartis Venture Funds with participating investors Satter Investment Management and Clarus Ventures.

The Redwood City-based has gained high-profile notice because one if its founders is chair of neurobiology at Stanford University. The company said it would use the money to support the development of its lead candidate, ANX005, for the treatment of neurodegenerative and autoimmune disorders.

ANX005 is a humanized monoclonal antibody that inhibits early components of the classical complement cascade.

“Annexon has what we believe to be a uniquely elegant approach to neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases,” said Campbell Murray of Novartis Venture Funds. “The important role of the classical complement cascade in antibody-mediated autoimmune disorders has been known for some time, and the discovery that it contributes to loss of nerve connections in neurodegenerative disease is highly innovative.”

Annexon's research focuses on pathway inhibitors for the treatment of neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases. The company's recent research has shown some indications that the pathway is activated as the aging brain encounters stress or disease to contribute to loss of nerve connections in neurodegeneration.

“Patients and families worldwide are seeking answers for these debilitating disorders, and ANX005 has the potential to become an important therapeutic agent for these conditions,” said Doug Love, CEO of Annexon, in a statement. “We look forward to executing on our clinical plan to rapidly validate our platform science in Huntington’s disease.”

Huntington’s disease is a well-defined genetic disorder characterized by nerve cell loss that results in severe motor, cognitive and psychiatric symptoms.

Annexon was co-founded in 2011 by Ben Barres, professor and chair of neurobiology at Stanford University School of Medicine, and Arnon Rosenthal, co-founder and CEO of Alector, and co-founder, former president and CSO of Rinat Neurosciences.

Seed funding was provided by Fidelity Biosciences Research Initiative. Annexon is led by CEO Doug Love, previous head of operations and alliances at Elan Pharmaceuticals, and CSO Ted Yednock, previous head of research for Elan Pharmaceuticals and is the scientific inventor of blockbuster multiple sclerosis therapy Tysabri.

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