Lysosomal Therapeutics Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of novel small molecules for use in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, raised $4.8m in seed funding.
The round was led by Atlas Venture with participation from Hatteras Venture Partners, Lilly Ventures, Sanofi-Genzyme BioVentures, Roche Venture Fund, Partners Innovation Fund and angel investors, including Orion Equity Partners, LLC. In conjunction with the funding, the board was joined by:
– Bruce Booth, Ph.D., partner at Atlas Venture; Clay Thorp, general partner at Hatteras Venture Partners;
– Steve Hall, Ph.D., venture partner at Lilly Ventures;
– Bernard Davitian, vice president and managing director of Sanofi-Genzyme BioVentures; and
– Carole Nuechterlein, head of Roche Venture Fund. Nessan Bermingham, Ph.D., venture partner at Atlas Venture.
Reza Halse, Ph.D., partner at Partners Innovation Fund, have been appointed as board observers.
The company intends to use the funds to progress its GCase program through the lead-generation process to set up up for preclinical development.
Founded by Dimitri Krainc, M.D., Ph.D., Joseph Mazzulli, Ph.D., former Genzyme executives Henri Termeer, Bob Carpenter and Peter Wirth and Kees Been, founding president and chief executive officer, LTI discovers new drugs for neurodegenerative diseases based on research performed in Krainc’s lab at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).
The work completed at MGH by Krainc and Mazzulli builds on the association between Gaucher disease (GD), a rare lysosomal storage disorder (LSD) caused by mutations in the gene for glucocerebrosidase (GCase), and a predisposition to Parkinson’s disease (PD). They demonstrated that increasing GCase activity in human neurons of GD and PD patients can normalize lysosomal function and improve neuronal survival. This research continues at Northwestern University, where Krainc is now Ward Professor and chairman of the department of neurology, and Mazzulli is an assistant professor of neurology.