CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AXONIS Therapeutics, Inc., an emerging biotechnology company advancing breakthrough research to develop therapies for neurological disorders, today announced it has secured an additional $5 million in funding. This financing round, which follows last year’s $4 million seed round, was led by Alexandria Venture Investments with participation by R3 Bio, BoxOne Ventures and Civilization Ventures and two leading spinal cord injury non-profit foundations, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and Spinal Research, joined by current investors. The new investment will support AXONIS’ next development phase as it continues to advance its novel neuromodulating technology into the clinic.
The Company’s pipeline includes neuron-reviving therapeutics that enable an intrinsic ability of central nervous system (CNS) neurons to resist degeneration, restore excitation/inhibition balance and regenerate. The Company’s targeted indications include spinal cord injury and epilepsy, as well as broader neurodegenerative conditions. Most recently AXONIS completed proof-of-concept pre-clinical studies on the upmodulation of the KCC2 protein function that reactivates spared neural tissue at the site of spinal cord injury. In addition to CNS injuries, the therapeutic benefits of KCC2 enhancement have also been shown in animal models to address chronic pain, epilepsy, Rett syndrome and others.
“We are delighted to have successfully delivered compelling proof-of-concept nonclinical data on our neuromodulating therapy in our first year,” said Joanna Stanicka, PhD, CEO and co-founder of AXONIS. “With our additional financing, we are planning to nominate a lead development candidate and file for an IND next year.”
Jeff Stevens, Vice President of Science and Technology and Head of Alexandria LaunchLabs – Cambridge at Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc./Alexandria Venture Investments, is joining the AXONIS Board. In addition, Brock Reeve, Executive Director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, is serving as R3’s Board Observer.
“We are excited to welcome Dr. Stanicka and AXONIS to our growing portfolio of innovative, data-driven life sciences startups,” said Mr. Stevens. “Her understanding of science and her business acumen, as well as the societal importance of neuroprotective targets AXONIS is addressing, make this a compelling investment.”
The Company also announced the appointment of Shane Hegarty, PhD, as Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Hegarty has been widely recognized for his work in neuroscience and is a former research fellow in the lab of Dr. Zhigang He at Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
“Neurological disorders are extremely complex, and remain an unmet, growing and global problem,” said Dr. Hegarty. “At AXONIS, we are advancing cutting-edge therapies, identified from unbiased screens in animal models, that can enable neurons to overcome fundamental pathologies that are shared between CNS disorders. We are devoted to translating these exciting discoveries to help patients.”
“I am very proud of AXONIS’ success to date and the commitment of the entire team as we continue to advance our innovative approach to serving unmet patient needs in areas including not only spinal cord injury, but also epilepsy and the other neuroprotective targets,” commented Corey Goodman, PhD, Executive Chair and co-founder of AXONIS. “We welcome our new investors, including Alexandria, and appreciate Jeff’s dedication to AXONIS by joining our Board.”
AXONIS has licensed three technologies, including recently discovered methods to prevent neurodegeneration. In addition to its primary work on the KCC2 protein, AXONIS is also investigating other methodologies for reviving neurons and restoring control to patients in need. Through restoring excitation/inhibition balance, neuroprotection and regeneration, AXONIS is focused on delivering a pipeline of disease-modifying therapies for a wide range of neurological disorders.
In connection with the Company’s operational launch in early 2020, it secured $4 million in seed funding from a group of angel investors. The Company has also received several non-dilutive funding awards, including from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and NIH Small Business Innovation Research program, and was a recipient of two Golden Tickets, one each from Boehringer Ingelheim and Astellas Pharma.
About AXONIS Therapeutics
AXONIS Therapeutics, Inc. is a biotechnology company based in Cambridge, MA, committed to advancing breakthrough drug discoveries to develop first-in-class therapies for currently incurable neurological disorders. AXONIS Therapeutics is progressing a pipeline of neuron-reviving therapeutics which enable an intrinsic ability of central nervous system (CNS) neurons to resist degeneration; restore excitation/inhibition balance; and regenerate, with the goal of making a real difference for patients, their families and the global healthcare system. For more information, visit www.axonis.us.