Denali Therapeutics, Inc., a San Francisco, CA-based developer of a diversified portfolio of therapeutics, raised $130m in Series B equity financing.
The round was led by Baillie Gifford, a UK-based mutual fund and included several new and large institutional investors.
The company intends to use the funds to continue to develop its therapeutic pipeline and proprietary blood-brain-barrier delivery technology platform,
Led by Ryan Watts, PhD, CEO, Dr. Alex Schuth, COO, and Dr. Carole Ho, Chief Medical Officer, Denali is developing a diversified portfolio of therapeutics, based on scientific insights into the genetic causes and biological processes underlying neurodegenerative disease.
The company has selected four specific pathways that are implicated as triggers or effectors of neurodegeneration:
– degenogenes (genes that cause neurodegenerative disease when mutated),
– defective intracellular trafficking,
– glial dysfunction and
– axon degeneration.
On August 22, Denali filed a CTA in Europe to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial for a small molecule RIP1 inhibitor with central nervous system (CNS) penetrant properties.
RIP1 is a kinase that regulates inflammatory signaling and can affect glial dysfunction in the brain. Pending CTA approval, the company will proceed with a single center study in healthy volunteers to assess safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics. Data from this trial will inform the design of future studies in patients suffering from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) and Alzheimer’s disease.
Denali recently acquired San Diego-based Incro Pharmaceuticals for access to its RIP1 inhibitor program, which originated from a license and collaboration agreement with Harvard University, signed a license agreement with Genentech, a member of the Roche group, for exclusive global rights to develop and commercialize LRRK2 inhibitors for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, and research collaboration deals with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis for the development and commercialization of antibodies targeting ApoE, a neurodegeneration-causing protein and genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, with UK-based F-star in support of the development of a proprietary platform technology to deliver therapeutics across the blood-brain barrier, with Blaze Bioscience for research on and discovery of novel blood-brain-barrier crossing therapeutics at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and others with ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI), Aptuit, Evotec, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, PatientsLikeMe and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine.
Founding investors in the company include ARCH Venture Partners, F-Prime Biosciences, Flagship Ventures and the Alaska Permanent Fund.