Forbion Capital Partners (“Forbion”), one of the leading Dutch Venture Capital firms investing in world-class healthcare technologies, today announced the closing of a Series B financing round of EUR 29 million (USD 31 million) for Prexton Therapeutics (Prexton). Prexton is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutic compounds for the treatment of Central Nervous System (CNS) conditions.
Forbion and Seroba Life Sciences (IE) co-led the financing round, which includes current investors Merck Ventures (NL), Ysios Capital (ES) and Sunstone Capital (DK). Marco Boorsma (Forbion) and Alan O’Connell (Seroba) will join the Board of Prexton.
The Series B funding will be used to finance two phase II studies of Prexton’s lead product, Foliglurax (formerly known as PXT002331) in Parkinson’s disease (PD). The phase II trials will start in 2017 and will take place in specialist centers in Europe and the US.
PD is a devastating progressive neurological condition affecting around 6.3 million people worldwide1. The disease is caused by the degeneration of dopaminergic brain cells and the main symptoms are resting tremor, muscle rigidity (“OFF-time”) and uncontrolled movements (“Dyskinesia”).
Current treatments aim to replace dopamine or to mimic its effects. Patients are administered with the dopamine precursor, L-DOPA. This treatment provides adequate symptomatic relief initially, but over time, it loses efficacy as the disease progresses and patients experience serious debilitating side effects, such as dyskinesia.
Prexton’s approach is to stimulate a compensatory neuronal system that is unaffected by PD. Instead of targeting the dopaminergic system, Foliglurax activates a specific target of the glutamatergic system (mGluR4). The aim of this product candidate is to treat the motor symptoms of PD.
A phase I trial with Foliglurax was successfully completed in September 2016. The results showed that Foliglurax was safe and well-tolerated at doses well above those that produce robust effects in PD primate models.
“It is a testament to the potential of Foliglurax that we have successfully completed such a significant funding round from high quality investors,” said Francois Conquet, CEO of Prexton Therapeutics.
“We have developed a strong package of preclinical and phase I clinical data with Foliglurax. We are now keen to begin our phase II efficacy trials and continue the development of Foliglurax as a potential new therapeutic for Parkinson’s disease.”
“We have been very impressed with the science behind Foliglurax and the alternative route being explored by Prexton to treat this difficult disease. Early data is encouraging and we believe Prexton’s approach could make a significant difference to developing new treatment options for patients.” said Forbion’s Marco Boorsma.
“As part of the funding round, we are helping Prexton set up operations in the Netherlands and supporting the company in starting trials. We look forward to working with the team”