DDF Invests in $20 Million in Series A Funding of Mitoconix Bio to Develop Neurodegenerative Disease Therapies
Ness Ziona, Israel June 27, 2017 – Mitoconix Bio Ltd., a biopharmaceutical company focused on therapies for neurological diseases, announced today that it has secured a $20 million round of Series A funding. The round was led by Remiges Ventures with participation from OrbiMed, Dementia Discovery Fund, Arix Bioscience, RMGP Bio-Pharma investment Fund and others. The proceeds will be used to advance Mitoconix Bio’s lead product for the treatment of Huntington’s disease through preclinical and clinical development and to expand its therapeutic pipeline to treat additional neurodegenerative disorders by improving mitochondrial function.
“We are very excited to complete our financing round with a leading group of investors that recognize the transformative potential of Mitoconix Bio’s technology for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases,” said Dr. Eyal Neria, CEO of Mitoconix Bio. “The great need for medicines to slow or arrest progression of neurodegenerative diseases motivates us to rapidly advance our lead product to clinical development and to create a pipeline of therapies for these devastating diseases.”
Mitoconix Bio is pioneering a disease-modifying strategy of improving mitochondrial functions for treating neurodegenerative diseases. Mitochondria are the energy-generating organelles within cells, and their proper function is critical for human health. Excessive mitochondrial fragmentation resulting in small and dysfunctional mitochondria is a central pathological process in human diseases and specifically neurodegeneration[i]. Mitoconix Bio’s lead product MTC-1203, is a first-in-class selective inhibitor of excessive mitochondrial division for treating Huntington’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. MTC-1203 has demonstrated efficacy in mouse models of Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Established in August 2016 in the FutuRx incubator, Mitoconix Bio’s program is based on the breakthrough scientific discoveries of its founder Daria Mochly-Rosen, The George D. Smith Professor in Translational Medicine at Stanford University, School of Medicine, and her team. The Stanford team has identified the molecular-based pathological interactions leading to excess mitochondrial fission and based on that identified pharmacological inhibitors of excess fission[ii]. Mitoconix exclusively licensed the technology from Stanford University.
Taro Inaba, Founder and Managing Partner of Remiges Ventures, said, “Mitoconix Bio offers a disruptive approach of improving mitochondrial health for treating neurodegenerative diseases, which is based on the breakthrough discoveries of Prof. Mochly-Rosen. We are extremely excited to lead Mitoconix Bio’s Series A round that provides sufficient funds to bring its lead product to the clinic, aiming to be a first-in-class disease-modifying therapeutic for treating neurodegenerative diseases including Huntington’s disease.”
Dr. Einat Zisman, FutuRx CEO, said, “This is the second successful series A round of a FutuRx portfolio company this year. This investment validates the quality of the technologies that are selected and effectively incubated by FutuRx, resulting in portfolio companies that are attractive to global biopharma investors.” Anya Eldan, General Manager, Start-Up Division, Israel Innovation Authority, added, “The Israel Innovation Authority Biotech Incubator program brings together experienced investors and management teams. Government support reduces the risk and enables establishment of innovative early stage ventures such as Mitoconix.”
About Neurodegenerative diseases and Huntington’s disease
Neurodegenerative diseases are a group of brain disorders characterized by progressive and irreversible neuronal damage and loss, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases. Neurodegenerative disease symptoms are diverse, but generally include decline in movement capabilities and mental abilities. Huntington’s disease is a fatal genetic disorder that causes a progressive loss of nerve cells in the brain, leading to physical and mental deterioration. Growing evidence links neurodegeneration to mitochondrial dysfunction and specifically to excessive mitochondrial division, also known as mitochondrial fission.
[i] Archer, S. L. (2013) ‘Mitochondrial Dynamics — Mitochondrial Fission and Fusion in Human Diseases’, New England Journal of Medicine 369 pp. 2236–2251.
[ii] Guo, X., Disatnik, M.-H., Monbureau, M., Shamloo, M., Mochly-Rosen, D. and Qi, X. (2013) ‘Inhibition of mitochondrial fragmentation diminishes Huntington’s disease-associated neurodegeneration.’, The Journal of clinical investigation. 123, pp. 5371–88.