Karuna Pharmaceuticals, a Boston, MA-based company focused on targeting muscarinic receptors for the treatment of disorders marked by psychosis and cognitive impairment, completed a $42m Series A financing.
The round included the issuance of $22m in shares upon conversion of debt into equity.
Participants included ARCH Venture Partners, the Wellcome Trust, Steven Paul M.D., PureTech Health, and other undisclosed investors.
The company plans to use the proceeds from the financing to advance its lead product candidate, KarXT (Karuna-xanomeline-trospium chloride), including the initiation of a Phase 2 trial in patients with schizophrenia in the third quarter of 2018 and the expansion into other therapeutic areas, including a non-opiate pain indication.
Led by Andrew Miller, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Karuna is a clinical-stage drug development company targeting muscarinic cholinergic receptors for the treatment of psychosis and cognitive impairment across central nervous system (CNS) disorders, including schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as neuropathic pain. Its lead product candidate, KarXT, consists of:
– xanomeline, a novel muscarinic acetylcholine receptor agonist that has demonstrated efficacy in placebo-controlled human trials in schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease without the troubling sedative, metabolic, and neurological side effects of currently prescribed antipsychotic drugs, and
– trospium chloride, an FDA-approved and muscarinic receptor antagonist that has been shown not to enter the central nervous system (CNS).
Founded by PureTech Health (LSE: PRTC), Karuna has demonstrated improved tolerability of KarXT vs. xanomeline in a placebo-controlled human study and is currently conducting a Phase 1 trial using a proprietary co-formulation of xanomeline and trospium chloride. A Phase 2 trial of safety and efficacy in people with schizophrenia is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2018.
The company has a worldwide exclusive license for xanomeline and has a patent portfolio more broadly covering selective muscarinic targeting enabled by the KarXT approach.