This brings the US and UK-based, clinical-stage drug discovery and development company Cerevance’s series B funding to $116 million (€106 million).
The company focuses on novel therapeutics the central nervous system (CNS) diseases using its sequencing platform. The financing will support upcoming clinical trials focused on Parkinson’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and schizophrenia.
“We are thrilled to secure additional funding from world-class investors who strongly support the need for novel therapies to treat neurological diseases,” said Craig Thompson, chief executive officer of Cerevance.
Diseases with unmet needs
“We are well positioned to continue to advance our clinical and pre-clinical programs and proprietary NETSseq platform. With this financing, we expect to reach several key clinical milestones across multiple disease areas with unmet needs.”
The company has a growing pipeline of clinical and preclinical programs developed using its NETSseq platform to discover and validate novel therapeutic targets in some of the most challenging neurological diseases.
So far it has achieved several milestones with more to come including CVN424, its oral, brain penetrant, non-dopaminergic, GPR6 inverse agonist. This demonstrated safety and efficacy in reducing OFF time (the functional time a patients’ medication has worn off and symptoms return) as an adjunctive therapy with levodopa in patients with Parkinson’s disease in a phase 2 study.
The company says it plans to initiate a phase 2 proof of concept study assessing CVN424 as a monotherapy treatment in patients with newly diagnosed Parkinson’s disease not yet treated with levodopa - a class of medicines called central nervous system agents - in the second quarter of this year (2023).
Another of its milestones includes CVN766, a potent antagonist of the orexin 1 receptor with high selectivity over the orexin 2 receptor (less than 1000-fold). This recently demonstrated positive phase 1 data. The orexin/receptor pathways play vital regulatory roles in many physiological processes, especially feeding behavior, sleep–wake rhythm, reward and addiction and energy balance.
CVN766 was well tolerated with an excellent safety profile and unlike most orexin receptor antagonists, resulted in no evidence of drowsiness. A Phase 2 study evaluating CVN766 as a potential treatment for the negative and cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia is planned for the last quarter of this year (2023).
CVN293, a blocker of KCNK13, a recently discovered novel target that is selectively expressed in brain microglia, dampens maladaptive central neuroinflammation associated with many neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS and Alzheimer’s disease. A phase 1 study assessing CVN293 is planned for the third quarter of this year.