SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — Neuron23 Inc., an early stage biotechnology company focused on developing precision medicines for genetically defined neurological and immunological diseases, has closed a $100 million Series C financing round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, bringing the company’s total financing raised to date to $213.5 million.
Neuron23’s Series A and B investors – Westlake Village BioPartners, Kleiner Perkins, Redmile Group, Cowen Healthcare Investments, Acorn Bioventures, HBM Partners, Perceptive Advisors, and Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company) – also participated in the Series C financing round.
The company plans to use the fund to lead programs against leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2), a gene associated with Parkinson’s disease and systemic inflammatory diseases, and tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2), a JAK family protein that plays a role in pathological immune signaling. The funds will also be used to build Neuron23’s clinical development team, precision neuroimmunology platform, and data sciences capabilities.
“This round represents a strong endorsement of Neuron23’s approach to precision neurology which is extremely gratifying,” said Nancy Stagliano, Ph.D., CEO of Neuron23. “As exemplified within our LRRK2 Parkinson’s disease program, we intend to identify patients, using state-of-the-art machine learning tools, who are most likely to respond to our therapies, increasing the likelihood of success in the clinic and bringing the right medicines to the right patients. The time to innovate in neurodegenerative disease drug development is now, and I am grateful to SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and all our existing investors for their support.”
Neuron23 expects to begin clinical trials for NEU-723, a best-in-class brain-penetrant LRRK2 inhibitor indicated for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, by the end of 2022. NEU-723 is a highly potent and selective LRRK2 inhibitor.
LRRK2 is a complex, multidomain protein found in neurons and many other tissues and cell types throughout the body. Variants in the LRRK2 gene are the most common mutations found in inherited Parkinson’s disease, and there is also emerging evidence that LRRK2 activity may play some role in a subset of the larger population of patients with non-familial Parkinson’s. Neuron23 has numerous LRRK2 candidates in its pipeline, including a subset indicated for the treatment of systemic inflammation.
Valentin (Vali) Barsan, M.D., an investor for SoftBank Investment Advisers and attending pediatric oncology physician at Stanford University School of Medicine, will join the Neuron23 board of directors. At Stanford, Dr. Barsan is focused on developing and translating genomic technologies in oncology to implement personalized therapy and study mechanisms of effective cancer immunity.
“While identifying targetable molecular variants has become the standard of care across many cancers, the incorporation of genetics in clinical neurology and immunology has only recently become tractable,” said Dr. Barsan. “We’re amazed by Neuron23’s capacity to redefine molecular landscapes that can personalize neurological and immunological medicines. We believe this will enable a pipeline of novel precision medicines that will have a profound impact on patients.”