Aquinnah Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge, Mass.-based biotechnology company focused on RNA binding proteins for neurodegenerative disease, received a $10m investment.
Backers include Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV). The round adds to an earlier $5m investment made by Takeda Pharmaceuticals in December 2015.
Led by Glenn Larsen, Ph.D., President and CEO, and Dr. Ben Wolozin, M.D., Ph.D., CSO, Aquinnah Pharmaceuticals is committed to restoring the health of people with ALS, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases by developing a new approach that has the potential to arrest, and possibly reverse these diseases.
THE PRESS RELEASE
Aquinnah Pharmaceuticals Receives $10 Million Investment from Pfizer and AbbVie to Research Breakthrough Approach to Neurodegenerative Disease
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Aquinnah Pharmaceuticals, a privately held biotechnology company focused on RNA binding proteins for neurodegenerative disease, announced today that two additional pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV), have invested in Aquinnah’s work to treat ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. This $10 million adds to an earlier $5 million investment made by Takeda Pharmaceuticals in December 2015.
“We are excited to have the support of three world-class pharmaceutical companies to expand our drug development efforts from ALS into new RNA binding proteins known to modulate Tau, one of the hallmark pathological proteins involved in Alzheimer’s disease,” said Glenn Larsen, Ph.D., Aquinnah’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
While the scientific community has spent years studying neurofibrillary tangles and b-amyloid plaques, Dr. Ben Wolozin, M.D., Ph.D., Aquinnah’s Chief Scientific Officer, believes the newly discovered role for RNA binding proteins in the biology of Tau protein provides an essential, previously undetected key to better understand Alzheimer’s disease. “We discovered that RNA binding proteins play a critical role in brain deterioration, cognitive loss and life expectancy reduction in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease. Targeting these pathways are expected to yield new therapies for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.”
“There continues to be a substantial need to combat neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and ALS,” said Scott Brun, M.D., Head, AbbVie Ventures, AbbVie. “Aquinnah’s research approach, developed by world-class scientific and drug development leaders, could offer valuable advances to treat these debilitating, progressive brain diseases and complements AbbVie’s ongoing neuroscience research efforts.”
“We believe Aquinnah’s novel approach to ALS and Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most promising developments in neurodegenerative disease today. We see the potential for multiple approaches to these diseases based on the company’s work. Neurodegenerative disease remains one of Pfizer’s top priorities and we are committed to supporting Aquinnah’s research,” said Morris Birnbaum, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer of Internal Medicine, Pfizer.