Axial Biotherapeutics, a Waltham, MA-based biotechnology company dedicated to building a unique class of gut-targeted programs for neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases, completed a $25m series B equity financing.
The round was led by new investor Seventure Partners, via its microbiome-focused fund Health for Life Capital™, along with existing investors Longwood Fund, Domain Associates, Heritage Medical Systems and a group of high net worth individuals based in Southern California.
The new funding will be used to advance the company’s programs in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Both programs include small molecules targeting the gut-brain axis.
Led by David H. Donabedian, Ph.D., Co-founder and CEO, Axial Biotherapeutics Axial Biotherapeutics is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company harnessing its understanding of the gut-brain axis to develop novel Central Nervous System (CNS) therapeutics to improve the quality of life for people with CNS diseases and disorders.
Its PD program, which evaluates organisms and genes over-represented in the PD gut- microbiome, has resulted in the identification of a pathway that is sufficient to induce motor and GI symptoms and brain pathology in a validated, preclinical PD model. It includes both AB-4166 and the AB-4000 series. AB-4166 is a first-in-class intervention that is currently being evaluated for safety and tolerability in a subpopulation of PD subjects. The PD program has also identified multiple novel chemical entities in the AB-4000 series which are being developed to have improved selectivity as potential next-generation drug candidates for PD and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Axial’s program in ASD is focused on research which demonstrates that reducing systemic and brain exposure to problematic microbial metabolites may improve core and non-core ASD symptoms related to behavior and gut health. The company’s lead product, AB-2004, is a drug candidate that has demonstrated, in animal models, the ability to repair leaky gut and improve repetitive behavior, anxiety, and ASD-related sensorimotor gating deficits by removing key microbial metabolites. AB-2004 is expected to enter a Phase 1b/2a clinical trial in ASD adolescents in the first quarter of 2019.