Autobahn Therapeutics has raised $76 million in Series B funding to advance the development of ABX-002, the company’s lead therapeutic candidate for adrenomyeloneuropathy (AMN) and multiple sclerosis (MS).
ABX-002 is a small molecule that is able to bind and activate thyroid receptors found in the brain and spinal cord, together referred to as the central nervous system or CNS. The activation of these receptors is thought to promote the differentiation of nerve cells responsible for producing myelin — the fatty sheath that protects nerve fibers and is gradually lost over the course of MS.
By increasing the number of myelin-producing nerve cells, ABX-002 is expected to halt and possibly reverse the progression of MS.
Thyroid receptor activation in the brain and spinal cord mediated by ABX-002 is also thought to promote the activation of the ABCD2 gene, which may potentially compensate for the lack of activity of ABCD1, which is faulty in AMN patients.
According to Autobahn, the new funding proceedings will be used to also advance the development of other investigative therapies based on the company’s brain-targeting chemistry platform across different programs of CNS disorders.
“We are coupling our deep knowledge of thyroid hormone biology and remyelination with our brain-targeting chemistry platform to restore the brain to a healthier state,” Kevin Finney, chairman and CEO of Autobahn, said in a press release.
“We stand well-positioned to advance our pipeline with funding from the highest quality investors and pharmaceutical leaders who share our mission of improving life health for people affected by these conditions,” Finney said.
A team of company experts on thyromimetics — medications that mimic the activity of naturally produced thyroid hormones — drug discovery, clinical operations, and business development will continue advancing Autobahn’s portfolio of experimental therapies for a wide variety of CNS disorders.
“Autobahn is developing a differentiated portfolio of CNS therapies, backed by validated science and led by proven scientific and business leaders,” said Tim Anderson, managing director of Cowen Healthcare Investments, one of the co-leaders of the financing round.
“We are excited to join the Autobahn team to help develop products that can fundamentally change the way people with CNS disorders are treated,” Anderson added.
Kristina Burow, managing director of ARCH Venture Partners, the other co-leader of the financing round, said her company believes Autobahn has the insights and expertise to “turn this world-class research into important medicines” for people with these CNS disorders.
“We are proud to be working alongside the company to harness the transformative potential of Autobahn’s remyelinating therapies,” Burow said.
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