Accure Therapeutics, a neurology biotech targeting central nervous system (CNS) conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, has launched in Barcelona with a Series A of €7.6M.
Alta Life Sciences, a life science venture capital firm based in the same city, and the Spanish governmental institution The Centre for Technological and Industrial Development funded the round.
The new company plans to target a number of different neurological conditions and has three small molecule candidate drugs it plans to develop. Its lead candidate, which is designed to target multiple sclerosis and optic neuritis, has already been tested at phase I and the company is ready to test it at phase II.
Accure Therapeutics also has two preclinical candidate drugs for Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy in development. All three of these candidate drugs have been licensed from the Spanish biotechs Bionure and Iproteos. Laurent Nguyen, Accure’s CEO, was previously CEO of Bionure.
“The concept of Accure Therapeutics is to power an R&D and regulatory engine dedicated only to the CNS in Europe with a critical mass able to build a diversified product portfolio by carefully selecting programs on their own merits, at least in advanced or late preclinical phase to early clinical development, to progress further,” Nguyen told me.
There is a large unmet demand in the sector, but neurological diseases have proved challenging for companies to target in the past. This is particularly true for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, with many trials failing at a late stage and many big pharma companies leaving the space.
“Developing new drugs in CNS conditions is challenging but the reward will be high should you be successful,” said Nguyen. “We want to capitalize on the progress made in better understanding the neurobiology and in designing adequate clinical trials… to put our candidates in the best position to demonstrate a benefit.”
Nguyen acknowledges that the current pandemic makes setting up a new company challenging, but believes that it is possible to continue with some restrictions.
“When it comes to R&D activities, we are outsourcing our preclinical experiments to contract research organizations,” he explained. “Initiating and running clinical trials may be more challenging and we are in constant contact with our investigator’s site and CRO to anticipate, monitor, and adjust for potential bottlenecks. The rest of the year will tell exactly what the impact will be on our ability to execute clinical trials, if any.”
It’s been a good week for neurology biotechs in Europe in terms of financing. The Swiss company Arvelle recently confirmed the final closing of last year’s Series A, which has finally bagged a total of €188M to fund the commercialization of an anti-epileptic treatment. Another Swiss neurology startup called GliaPharm raised almost €2M earlier this week to fund the preclinical development of a treatment for an undisclosed orphan neurological disease.
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