- Proceeds dedicated to the development of novel small molecule therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases
- Innovative drug discovery platform leveraging insights from novel targets and pathways, resilience to neurodegeneration and all-in-human validation
Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 9 July 2021 – LSP today announced its investment in Muna Therapeutics ApS (“Muna Therapeutics”), a Danish start-up company focused on the discovery and development of small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. The €60 million ($73 million) Series A financing was co-led by LSP, investing from the LSP Dementia Fund, Novo Holdings, Sofinnova Partners, and Droia Ventures with participation from Polaris Partners, Polaris Innovation Fund, Sanofi Ventures, V-Bio Ventures, and VIB.
Neurodegenerative diseases affect millions of individuals, with increasing global impact as the population ages. Muna Therapeutics is focused on addressing the staggering unmet medical need experienced by patients around the world with neurodegenerative diseases.
Muna Therapeutics is the combination of two innovative European start-up companies. The first company, already called Muna Therapeutics, was founded in 2020 by Professor Simon Glerup and his team at Aarhus University, Denmark, and Novo Holdings. That same year, Muna Therapeutics expanded their pipeline by entering into a strategic partnership on additional targets with Axxam SpA, based in Milan, Italy. The second company, K5 Therapeutics was founded in 2020 by Professor Bart De Strooper from KU Leuven, Droia Ventures and VIB. The LSP Dementia Fund played a key role in bringing Muna Therapeutics and K5 Therapeutics together and creating a combined company that plays into their individual strengths and leverages their proprietary technologies and knowhow. The combined company – Muna Therapeutics – is based in Copenhagen and Leuven and will be led by seasoned pharma executives Rita Balice-Gordon (CEO) and Anders Hinsby (COO).
Muna Therapeutics’ innovative all-in-human target discovery and validation platform is based on proprietary insights into molecular pathways in different human brain cell types that underlie disease pathology and resilience to neurodegeneration, based on work from the De Strooper and Glerup laboratories. Muna Therapeutics has built a cutting-edge small molecule drug discovery engine that leverages high-resolution target structural approaches, AI-driven computational chemistry and cell-based screening. The financing will be used to advance Muna Therapeutics’ small molecule programs focused on repairing neuronal dysfunction, resolving neuroinflammation and restoring neuroprotection and resilience to disease to Investigational New Drug (IND) applications.
Rita Balice-Gordon, CEO of Muna Therapeutics, said: “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. Our team is committed to leveraging our collective expertise to deliver impactful disease modifying small molecule therapeutics to patients as rapidly as possible.”
Cillian King, Investment Manager at LSP, said: “The LSP Dementia Fund was launched to improve the care and treatment options available to patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. We believe that Muna Therapeutics, with its strong foundational science, diversified pipeline, seasoned management team, and unique discovery engine, is well positioned to deliver new drugs against these devastating diseases for which there are currently limited to no treatment options. We look forward to supporting the company along this exciting journey.”
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