Proceeds will fund lead-drug candidate ACU-193 to proof of concept in Alzheimer’s disease
Livermore, CA, USA, April 25, 2013 / B3C newswire / – Acumen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., today announced 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. “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.”
About Acumen Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Acumen Pharmaceuticals is a leader in the discovery and development of drugs that block the detrimental effects of soluble oligomers of the amyloid-beta peptide in Alzheimer’s disease. “Acumen pioneered research of soluble oligomers and holds a dominant IP position in the field”, said Grant A. Krafft, PhD, founder and chairman of Acumen. In 2003, Acumen licensed the anti-soluble oligomer technology to Merck & Co. for significant upfront and milestone payments. In 2011, Acumen reacquired ACU-193, back-up drug development candidates, a companion diagnostic biomarker, and substantial IP from Merck. Acumen holds IP and know-how for drug discovery approaches other than antibodies and in 2009 licensed its small molecule assembly blocker program to Merz Pharmaceuticals GmbH.
William F. Goure
Chief Operating Officer