CAMBRIDGE, Mass,--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AXONIS Therapeutics, Inc., an emerging biotechnology company advancing breakthrough research to treat spinal cord injury and paralysis, today announced the close of the first tranche of a $4 million Seed Preferred financing. The financing was led by Kerry Murphy, an investor, philanthropist and AXONIS Board member. The funds will enable AXONIS to conduct pre-clinical studies on its novel technology that reactivates spared neural tissue at the spinal cord injury site through upmodulation of the KCC2 protein activity. The importance of KCC2 treatment in recovery of stepping ability was first discovered by Dr. Zhigang He in his lab at Boston Children’s Hospital.
“We are very pleased with this seed funding, as it will allow us to initiate important pre-clinical work and build our team as we advance this technology,” said Joanna Stanicka, PhD, CEO, AXONIS Therapeutics. “We have seen very promising results in the proof-of-concept studies thus far, and look forward to moving this critical research to the next stage in our mission to treat paralysis.”
“Many years in academia, biotechnology and pharma have given me the experience and perspective to recognize the importance of Dr. He’s discovery and what AXONIS is aiming to achieve,” said Corey Goodman, PhD, Executive Chair and co-founder of AXONIS. “That background underscores my excitement in AXONIS’ neuromodulating therapy not only for spinal cord injury, the initial focus, but also other neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, where it also has major potential.”
The second tranche of the financing will be provided following the Company’s successful delivery of proof-of-concept data, which is expected in approximately one year. The financing follows the strengthening of the leadership team including the appointment of Dr. Stanicka as CEO in October 2019, along with an expanded Board of Directors. Under the new leadership, AXONIS received state and federal non-dilutive funding and other seed investment. Dr. Stanicka also won a Boehringer Ingelheim Golden Ticket that provides one year of free lab space at LabCentral in Cambridge.
AXONIS has licensed or optioned two technologies from Boston Children’s Hospital, the leading pediatric hospital in the world. In addition to its primary work on the KCC2 protein, AXONIS has also been investigating PTEN inhibition to help regenerate nerve connections after injury. Through tissue reactivation and nerve regeneration, AXONIS is focused on identifying effective therapies to restore movement in paralyzed patients after spinal cord injury.
Spinal cord injury causes devastating paralysis, loss of sensation and loss of other bodily functions below the level of the injury. Across the US, Canada and Western Europe, it is estimated that there are more than 3.6 million cases, and more than 180,000 new cases each year, with each SCI patient requiring more than $100,000, on average, in annual care.
AXONIS’ Science Advisory Council includes Oswald Steward, PhD, Director of the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at the University of California at Irvine; Lisa McKerracher, PhD, CEO, BioAxone BioSciences, Inc.; and Dr. Goodman, Managing Partner, venBio Partners.
AXONIS was founded by Bob Yant, a well-known advocate for spinal cord regeneration research. Following a 1981 accident that left Bob a quadriplegic, he has dedicated significant time to raising funds for basic research aimed at developing a cure for spinal cord injury. Bob is a former Director of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, and Founder of Cure Medical.
About AXONIS Therapeutics
AXONIS Therapeutics, Inc. is a biotechnology company based in Cambridge, MA, committed to developing groundbreaking therapies for spinal cord injury, and other currently incurable neurological disorders. AXONIS is advancing two breakthrough discoveries, KCC2 upmodulation to reactivate spared tissue and PTEN inhibition to regenerate injured nerve connections, to make a real difference for patients, their families, and the global healthcare system. For more information, visit www.axonis.us