Fresh off a $10 million funding round, M3 Biotechnology is preparing for clinical trials for its Alzheimer’s drug. The Seattle company plans to begin conducting human safety trials for the treatment by the end of this year.
CEO Leen Kawas said Wednesday that $8 million of the newly raised round will go toward prepping for trials and speeding up the development of drugs in its pipeline. The remaining $2 million will be used to run a Phase 1 clinical trial that will test the safety of the drug in humans.
“There’s a lot of preparation that needs to be done before starting human trials,” Kawas said.
Tests of M3’s drug in rats have indicated that it can regrow the connection between neurons, suggesting it can rebuild connections destroyed by Alzheimer’s and other progressive neurological diseases, Kawas said.
The company currently has a drug with indications for various neurodegenerative diseases, as well as a pipeline of other drugs, she said. In addition to the Alzheimer’s indication, the drugs also might apply to Parkinson’s, ALS and multiple sclerosis.
Kawas said she hopes to have a licensing agreement with a large pharmaceutical company by the year’s end. Whether its drugs are tested for diseases other than Alzheimer’s depends partly on whether such an agreement is in place, she said.
The $10 million in funding was a Series A round that will have its third and final close in about a week, Kawas said. The lead investors were Bruce Montgomery, CEO of Seattle biotech company Cardeas Pharma; his brother Michael Montgomery, head of boutique investment bank Montgomery & Co; and John Fluke of Fluke Capital Management.
Also participating in the round were the W Fund, WRF Capital and Dolby Family Ventures, as well as high-net-worth individuals from Seattle and San Francisco.
– Rachel Nielson, Staff writer at Puget Sound Business Journal