Prexa Pharmaceuticals has secured $7 million in a Series B financing from a round led by Advent Healthcare Ventures in which Shire Pharmaceuticals joined as a new investor. Proceeds from the financing will allow the company to complete Investigational New Drug (IND)-enabling studies through Phase 1b clinical studies for its lead product candidate PRX-12251.
Prexa, co-founded by Advent in 2006, previously raised $3.1 million in a Series A equity capital financing. The company is developing oral small molecule monoamine reuptake inhibitors that act most potently at the dopamine transporter. By safely enhancing dopamine activity, and to a lesser extent norepinephrine activity, Prexa intends to improve upon the safety and efficacy of current treatments for ADHD, depression and Parkinson’s disease.
“We are excited about Shire’s participation in this round of financing, and are pleased that they share our confidence in Prexa’s unique approach to treating CNS diseases and disorders,” said Charles Cohen, PhD, partner at Advent Healthcare Ventures and chairman and chief executive officer of Prexa. “We are targeting indications that we believe have an unmet need and we now have the funding in place, and an experienced management team on board to advance the development of Prexa’s lead product candidate.”
Many CNS diseases and disorders have been associated with impaired neurotransmission of the serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine pathways. Most pharmacologic treatments aim to enhance only serotonin and/or norepinephrine but many patients do not respond to these products and are dissatisfied with the side effects. Prexa’s compound, PRX-12251, is a triple reuptake inhibitor (TRI) that blocks dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin transporters, with the greatest potency on the dopamine transporter.
“There is a strong body of clinical evidence to suggest that preferentially targeting dopamine, with less potent effects on serotonin and norepinephrine, may provide clinical advantages to treating certain CNS disorders. We believe that agents with this pharmacology offer the potential for improved efficacy and safety in various psychiatric and neurological conditions,” said Scott Reines, MD, PhD, chief medical officer of Prexa. “We are pleased to have the support of Advent and Shire, and expect that our capital efficient structure will allow these funds to take PRX-12251 through Phase 1 clinical studies that include characterization of its pharmacodynamic effects in human brain.”
Release Date: May 11, 2011