Acumen Pharmaceuticals Announces First Close of Series A Financing
News Apr 29, 2013
Acumen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., has announced that it has completed a first closing of a $20 million Series A financing led by BVF Partners L.P. (BVF), a leading life sciences investment firm which manages the Biotechnology Value Fund, L.P. NeuroVentures Fund, L.P., Praxis Technologies, Glynn Ventures and private investors also participated in the closing.
Acumen will use the Series A proceeds to fund preclinical and potentially early clinical development of ACU-193, a monoclonal antibody that selectively binds to and captures soluble oligomers of the amyloid-beta peptide.
ACU-193 could demonstrate clinical proof of concept in Alzheimer’s disease by 2016.
Alzheimer’s disease and related degenerative disorders of the aging brain represent one of the largest and most significant unmet medical needs of modern societies.
“ACU-193 represents a distinct and promising drug candidate for Alzheimer’s disease”, said Franz F. Hefti, PhD., CEO of Acumen. “Acumen recently presented its focused development program to the FDA in a pre-IND meeting, and the rationale for ACU-193 and an anti-oligomer approach has been summarized in a special publication, which appeared this month in the leading review journal Trends in Pharmacological Sciences”.
ACU-193 is a potential first in class molecule, expected to be effective as a standalone therapy or in combination with other Alzheimer drugs.
ACU-193 selectively captures soluble oligomers of amyloid-beta, and thus has a different mechanism of action from bapineuzumab and other anti-amyloid antibodies.
Soluble oligomers of amyloid-beta are now recognized widely as key pathogenic structures in Alzheimer’s disease.
These oligomers bind to and inhibit the function of nerve cells, leading to early memory deficits, and trigger downstream events such as amyloid plaques and tau pathology.
ACU-193 is expected to achieve rapid symptomatic clinical benefit in patients with Alzheimer’s disease because memory performance should improve upon the removal of soluble oligomers by ACU-193. Acumen is planning a Phase I/IIa clinical study design to demonstrate clinical proof of concept.
“BVF has participated in funding Acumen Pharmaceuticals and has followed the programs with enthusiasm from the very beginning”, said Mark Lampert, Founder of BVF.
Lampert continued, “We are delighted to lead the financing of ACU-193. It is a privilege to help bring this exceptionally promising medication to patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.”
Animal venoms are the subject of study at research center based at the Butantan Institute in São Paulo. But in this case, the idea is not to find antidotes, but rather to use the properties of the venoms themselves to identify molecular targets of diseases and, armed with that knowledge, develop new compounds that can be used as medicines.