Axial Biotherapeutics announced the launch of the Company with a $19.15 million Series A round of financing. The Company is leveraging the groundbreaking work of scientific founder, Professor Sarkis Mazmanian, Ph.D., which uses the gut microbiome to help treat diseases and disorders of the central nervous system (CNS). Dr. Mazmanian, the Louis & Nelly Soux Professor of Microbiology, Division of Biology & Biological Engineering, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), is a leader in the field of interactions between the gut microbiome and the brain as it relates to neurological disorders. Dr. Mazmanian has published his groundbreaking research in journals that include Nature, Science and Cell. The Mazmanian Laboratory was among the first to demonstrate disease modifying effects in mouse models of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) via novel and proprietary microbiome interventions. Axial will leverage those findings to build a microbiome discovery platform targeting the gut-brain axis which provides the opportunity to generate a diverse pipeline of new therapies for patients with neurological diseases and disorders.
The Series A financing was led by Longwood Fund and Domain Associates.Also participating in the financing were Kairos Ventures, Heritage Medical Systems and a group of high net worth individuals based in Southern California.
In conjunction with the financing, Axial Biotherapeutics announced the appointment of David H. Donabedian, Ph.D., as Chief Executive Officer and Board Director. Additional Axial Board members include, James C. Blair, Ph.D. Partner, Domain Associates, Michelle Dipp, M.D., Ph.D., Partner, Longwood Fund, and Sarkis Mazmanian, Ph.D., Caltech.
“I look forward to developing this world class science into treatments which have the potential to help patients where limited treatment options are available,” said David H. Donabedian, Ph.D., Co-founder and CEO of Axial Biotherapeutics. “There is mounting evidence that the gut microbiome is implicated in brain development and neurological health and we believe we are at the forefront of generating new avenues for microbiome-targeted therapeutic interventions in multiple neurological diseases and disorders.”
Axial has licensed exclusive, worldwide rights to intellectual property which covers a novel and proprietary class of CNS biotherapeutics from the Mazmanian Laboratory at Caltech. Axial’s focus will be to translate these discoveries into a unique class of microbial-targeted biotherapeutics that could become breakthrough therapies for a variety of neurological diseases and disorders, including ASD and Parkinson’s Disease.
“By interrogating the biological link between the gut microbiome and the brain, we are discovering pathways and mechanisms that can be leveraged to develop novel treatment options for vastly underserved diseases,” said Sarkis Mazmanian, Ph.D., Co-founder of Axial Biotherapeutics. “The discovery that changes in the gut microbiome may cause neurological diseases is a paradigm shift and opens entirely new possibilities for treating patients. I am looking forward to working with the team at Axial to translate our breakthrough discoveries in the laboratory to patients in need.”
David H. Donabedian, Ph.D., will serve as Chief Executive Officer and Board member of Axial Biotherapeutics. Dr. Donabedian is an accomplished business development and strategy executive with extensive leadership experience. Dr. Donabedian has a track record of building companies, most recently as a Venture Partner at Longwood Fund. Prior to joining Longwood, Dr. Donabedian has held various leadership roles at biopharmaceutical companies including AbbVie and GSK. At AbbVie, Dr. Donabedian served as Vice President & Global Head of Ventures and Early Stage Collaborations where he led a global team that completed significant transactions across multiple therapeutic areas and stages of development. Prior to AbbVie, Dr. Donabedian served as Vice President Global New Deal Strategy and Development at GlaxoSmithKline, and Senior Manager at Accenture’s Strategic Services Consulting Group. He holds a BA in Chemistry from St. Anselm College, a Ph.D. in Polymer Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and an MBA from the University of North Carolina. He currently serves on the Board of Alcyone Life Sciences, a privately held CNS company which he co-founded.