Marie Daghlian

The new year started with a bang for companies developing therapies for rare neurological disorders with two companies, Amylyx Therapeutics and Vigil Neuroscience, completing initial public offerings and adding a combined $288 million to their coffers.

Amylyx Pharmaceuticals priced an upsized initial public offering of 10 million shares of common stock at an initial public offering price of $19.00 per share to raise $190 million before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and offering expenses and excluding any exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares. Shares will trade on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol AMLX.

Amylyx will use the funds to advance development and commercialization of its neurodegenerative pipeline that includes lead candidate AMX0035, in phase 3 studies for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a devastating progressive, and fatal motor neuron disease that affects approximately 1 out of 100,000 people. The average life expectancy of a person with ALS is approximately two to five years, and there is currently no cure for the disease. AMX0035 targets endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondrial-dependent neuronal degeneration pathways in ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Vigil Neuroscience, a company targeting microglia for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, priced its initial public offering of 7 million shares of common stock at $14.00 per share to raise $98 million before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and other offering expenses. In addition, the underwriters have a 30-day option to purchase up to 1 million additional shares of common stock at the initial public offering price, less underwriting discounts and commissions. Shares will trade on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol VIGL.

Vigil is developing fully human monoclonal antibody VGL101, in phase 1 development for patients with adult-onset leukoencephalopathy with axonal spheroids and pigmented glia (ALSP), a rare inherited neurodegenerative disease caused by a mutation to the CSF1R gene. VGL101 has the potential to address an estimated 10,000 people in the United States, with similar prevalence in Europe and Japan, living with this devastating disease.

The company is also developing small molecule agonists of triggering receptor on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2), an essential microglia sensor that mediates responses to environmental signals to maintain brain homeostasis. TREM2 is a compelling molecular target for neurodegeneration as it serves as a damage sensor of microglia with trophic function and plays a role in microglia response to CNS injury.

Microglia dysfunction is central to ALSP pathogenesis and Vigil believes TREM2 agonism with VGL101 can restore microglia function, thereby potentially providing therapeutic benefits to patients with the disease. ALSP represents the first indication in Vigil’s precision medicine strategy of applying learnings from rare indications with strong genetic, biochemical, and pathophysiological associations to microglial deficiency to the development of microglia-based therapeutics in more common indications such as Alzheimer’s disease.

X