RARE Daily

Libra Launches with $29 Million to Develop Therapies for Neurodegenerative Diseases

September 23, 2020

Rare Daily Staff

Libra Therapeutics launched with $29 million in series A financing to develop novel drug candidates focused on restoring the cellular balance lost in neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia.

Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF), Epidarex Capital, and Santé co-led the financing. They were joined by Yonjin Venture, Dolby Family Ventures, and Sixty Degree Capital.

Proceeds from the financings will be used primarily to build the team and advance a pipeline of novel small molecule drug candidates for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Libra’s drug development efforts are based on breakthrough science generated by Axxam, a leading discovery research organization, which provides Libra with novel and proprietary chemical matter, cutting edge and exclusive assays, and robust drug discovery expertise.

“My career has been dedicated to CNS drug discovery. I have seen firsthand the devastation diseases like ALS, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease have on patients and their families,” said Isaac Veinbergs, president and CEO of Libra Therapeutics. “We are delighted to build on Axxam’s pioneering foundational research to accelerate the development of novel therapies with the potential to slow or prevent disease progression to deliver meaningful improvements in patient outcomes across a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases.”

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are both characterized by disequilibrium caused by the production and decreased clearance of neurotoxic proteins. The most frequent genetic cause of ALS and FTD is the expansion of the C9orf72 gene. Multiple studies have proposed that C9orf72 regulates intracellular trafficking and autophagy in neuronal cells. Libra is focusing on increasing autophagy to counter the loss of C9orf72 function, more rapidly clear toxic proteins and attenuate the production of neurotoxic proteins.

“Libra Therapeutics takes a unique approach to tackling neurodegenerative diseases with two distinct but complementary approaches that target key pathways that drive neurodegeneration,” said Martín Heidecker, managing director, BIVF USA. “By modulating scientifically and genetically validated targets to decrease neurotoxic proteins, there’s a clearly defined development path with translational and clinical biomarkers.”

Photo: Isaac Veinbergs, president and CEO of Libra Therapeutics


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