HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Alzeca Biosciences, Inc., an early-stage healthcare diagnostic company focused on developing novel MRI-based targeted imaging agents for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, announced today that it has closed an $11 million Series A financing.
With the transaction, Peter J. Werth, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Chemwerth, Inc., and Navneet Puri, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nevakar, LLC, joined the Alzeca Board of Directors.
Alzeca will use the funds to advance the development of its ADx nanoparticle, the first magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent targeting amyloid plaques, through Phase 1 human clinical trials. Amyloid is one of the key brain proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions. Additionally, the new funding will enable Alzeca to accelerate development of MRI-based imaging agents targeting other abnormal brain proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
“We are very pleased to complete this significant round of financing with experienced private investors who have a firm commitment to advancing these urgently needed healthcare innovations in Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia,” said Carlo Medici, CEO of Alzeca.
Until now, the accuracy of diagnosis in Alzheimer’s disease has been very low. Recent research has suggested that PET (positron-emission tomography) brain imaging of amyloid plaque deposition could improve dementia diagnosis in up to two-thirds of patients. However, PET imaging is costly, not widely available to healthcare providers, and subjects patients to high doses of radiation (equivalent to up to 70 chest x-rays). By comparison, the successful development of ADx would make early and reliable Alzheimer’s diagnostic testing available worldwide, using MRI scanning technology that is broadly accessible, at far lower cost and without any radiation exposure. Detection of Alzheimer’s disease a decade or more before symptoms appear would revolutionize its treatment and vastly improve the efficiency of clinical trials for new therapies by identifying appropriate candidates for participation and monitoring their response to new drugs.
“The ability to diagnose neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s years before serious cognitive impairment manifests, so as to potentially intervene therapeutically at an early stage in the disease process, is a significant healthcare challenge,” said Mr. Werth. “We are excited to partner with Alzeca because its promising MRI brain imaging agents offer great potential not only to advance the early diagnosis of such conditions but also to aid in monitoring patient response to treatment both during drug development and in the clinic.”
“Alzeca is addressing a critical healthcare need and has assembled a highly experienced management team composed of world-renowned experts in diagnostic imaging, clinical neurosciences and commercial pharmaceutical and biomedical development,” said Dr. Puri. “Bringing novel diagnostic approaches and more accurate biomarkers to address the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases is a worthy cause and will benefit millions of patients, caregivers and healthcare providers. I am very happy to support them and invest in this endeavor.”
Biographies of the New Alzeca Board Members
Peter J. Werth, Jr. founded Chemwerth, Inc., in 1982 and serves as its Chief Executive Officer and President. A pioneer in developing and supplying generic active pharmaceutical ingredients, Mr. Werth has committed his professional life to improving global access to high-quality, affordable generic pharmaceuticals. Mr. Werth is also a recognized philanthropist, establishing the Werth Family Foundation in 2001 to support higher education, children and human services, the arts and the environment.
Navneet Puri, PhD, is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nevakar, LLC. After earning his MS and PhD in Pharmaceutics, Dr. Puri worked for several years at Baxter Healthcare Corp and Amgen Inc. in the areas of parenteral drug development and drug delivery. Dr. Puri founded InnoPharma, Inc., in 2005 with a focus on developing complex generic pharmaceuticals of sterile injectable dosage forms. The company was acquired by Pfizer in 2014. Dr. Puri received the Smart CEO award from Future 50 magazine in January 2015. He was also awarded an E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year award from the state of New Jersey in June 2015.
About Alzeca Biosciences, Inc.
Alzeca Biosciences is an early-stage company focused on developing novel, proprietary, targeted MRI imaging agents for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. The company’s proprietary technology is based on nanoparticles that specifically bind to abnormal proteins that accumulate in the brain years before significant cognitive symptoms appear. Alzeca’s imaging agents would provide a new opportunity for safe, cost-effective, and widely available diagnosis and screening for these important diseases. Alzeca Biosciences is based in Houston. For more information on the company, please visit our website at http://www.alzeca.com.