Avraham Pharmaceuticals Ltd., an Israeli developer of a novel molecule for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment and other neurodegenerative diseases, has closed a $3m financing.
Backers include Yissum Research Development Company Ltd., the technology transfer arm of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Pontifax, Clal Biotechnology Industries, Technion Research and Development Foundation Ltd., Professor Marta Weinstock-Rosin and others.
Following this round, which follows a $9m financing led by Yissum, Pontifax and CBI in April, 2010 (read here), Yissum will maintain a 30% holding share in Avraham Pharmaceuticals, which it intends to transfer to its forthcoming biotech holdings company, as one of its main assets.
Led by CEO Dr. Vincent R. Zurawski, Avraham intends to use the funds to pursue two advanced product development programs for ladostigil*, a novel molecule designed for the treatment of various neurodegenerative diseases.
In details, the company will continue to advance its on-going double-blind, placebo-controlled, Phase II, proof-of-concept trial in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, at 20 sites in five countries across Europe. Avraham also plans to begin a 36-month, multi-centre, randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of ladostigil in patients diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
The study is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2012.
*Ladostigil is a novel cholinesterase and brain-selective monoamine oxidase inhibitor, and neuroprotective agent for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment and other neurodegenerative diseases. The drug, which was exclusively licensed to Avraham Pharmaceuticals by Yissum and by the Technion Research and Development Foundation Ltd. (TRDF), has proven to be safe and well tolerated in Phase I and Phase II- clinical trials. Ladostigil targets symptomatic relief in Alzheimer’s patients but, unlike these drugs, it provides the potential to improve the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia such as depression and anxiety.