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Prexton Therapeutics raises CHF31 million

07.02.2017 13:23

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Geneva based Prexton Therapeutics develops novel therapeutic compounds for the treatment of Central Nervous System (CNS) conditions. The Series B funding will be used to finance two phase II studies of Prexton’s lead product. Prexton Therapeutics was founded 2012 as a spin-off from Merck Serono.

Forbion Capital Partners (NL) 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 directors at 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 worldwide. The disease is caused by the degeneration of dopaminergic brain cells. 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 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 primate 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 in developing new treatment options for patients,” said Marco Boorsma, Forbion. “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.”

Commenting on the announcement Alan O’Connell, Seroba said. “Late stage Parkinson’s disease is poorly controlled by existing treatments. This creates very challenging issues for patients. We were attracted to Prexton by its potential to help address this significant unmet clinical and commercial need.”

(Press release)

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