CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Vigil Neuroscience, a new biotechnology company harnessing the power of microglia for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, launched today with $50 million Series A financing. Atlas Venture co-founded, seeded and incubated Vigil with late pre-clinical-stage assets in-licensed from Amgen Inc., who will remain a key shareholder in the company. The Series A round was co-led by Atlas Venture and Northpond Ventures and includes participating investors Hatteras Venture Partners and Alexandria Venture Investments. The company is led by industry veteran Ivana Magovčević-Liebisch, PhD, JD as President and Chief Executive Officer.
“Microglia cells are involved in maintaining the health and wellbeing of the brain, and regulate a host of neuro-immunological functions to prevent neurodegenerative disease,” said Ivana Magovčević-Liebisch, PhD, JD, President and CEO, Vigil Neuroscience. “Our strategy is to first develop precision-based therapies using rare microgliopathies as an entry point which will provide us with insights that will open up opportunities in much larger indications. It’s very exciting to be on the precipice of this new area of scientific exploration and to be able to jumpstart our pipeline development with a lead asset that we anticipate will enter the clinic in 2021.”
Vigil will use the Series A funds to progress its lead pipeline candidate, a monoclonal antibody TREM2 agonist, through Phase 1 studies, advance their small molecule TREM2 agonist to IND, as well as pursue additional assets to grow the pipeline and increase the body of data supporting microglia biology as an important therapeutic pathway.
Many of the foundational discoveries of TREM’s role in central nervous system (CNS) disorders originated from Dr. Marco Colonna’s lab at the Washington University School of Medicine. “TREM2 is a compelling molecular target as it serves as a damage sensor of microglia with trophic function and plays a role in microglia response to CNS injury,” commented Dr. Colonna, the Robert Rock Belliveau, Professor of Pathology and Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine and the Chairman of Vigil’s Scientific Advisory Board. “I am excited to see this program move into the hands of a first-class development team, supported by a stellar group of investors and advisors.”
“We have identified multiple neurodegenerative diseases with clear evidence of genetically linked microglial dysfunction impacting small and large patient populations. Most of these diseases are severe with limited to no treatment options,” said Bruce Booth, DPhil, Board Chair of Vigil and Partner at Atlas Venture. “We have built Vigil to translate these exciting breakthroughs in basic science and human genetics of microglia into precision-based therapies that will help patients suffering from these devastating diseases.”
Vigil has assembled an experienced, patient-focused, collaborative and passionate team dedicated to realizing the potential of microglia biology and delivering life-changing therapeutics to patients, caregivers and families.
About Vigil Neuroscience
Vigil Neuroscience is the world’s first microglia-focused therapeutics company. Our purpose is clear: to treat rare and common neurodegenerative diseases by restoring the vigilance of microglia, the sentinel cells of the brain’s immune system. We are utilizing the tools of modern neuroscience drug development across multiple therapeutic modalities to rapidly deliver precision-based therapies to improve the lives of patients and their families. www.vigilneuro.com