RARE Daily

Modulo Bio Launches to Develop Treatments for Neurodegenerative Disease Treatments

June 5, 2023

Rare Daily Staff

Modulo Bio emerged from stealth mode with $8 million in seed funding that it will use to develop new treatments for patients suffering from debilitating neurodegenerative diseases.

Initialized Capital, Cantos, Bioverge, Spacecadet, Builders VC, Refactor Capital, and Hawktail participated in the financing.

In recent years, advances in technology and neurosciences have sparked renewed interest in unlocking the mysteries of the brain’s immune system. Modulo focuses on microglia—cells that can either protect and repair damaged or diseased neurons or contribute to further degeneration. By modeling the neuroimmune system, Modulo said it can identify drug candidates that target microglia cells to treat diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), characterized by progressive muscular paralysis reflecting degeneration of motor neurons in the primary motor cortex corticospinal tracts brainstem and spinal cord, frontotemporal dementia (FTD0 a rapidly progressing and severe form of dementia found most frequently in individuals less than 65 years old at the time of diagnosis, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

The company’s proprietary Modulo Neuroimmune Platform integrates software, automation, and artificial intelligence, alongside the latest advances in stem cell biology and neuroscience, to pioneer new treatments. Its research starts with patients, leveraging stem cell technology to generate brain cells from patients with different diseases, and culminates in an AI-generated neuroimmune fingerprint of disease.

“I first encountered FTD when my best friend’s mother developed the disease, and we watched it steal her dignity, independence, and personality,” said Modulo CEO Michael Horowitz. “That experience, and the looming possibility that my friend might also develop the disease, motivates me every day.”

Modulo said it has already identified novel microglia targets and generated candidates that offer the promise of effective treatments for diseases like ALS and FTD.

“We believe reprogramming microglia is one of the best strategies in the fight against neurodegenerative disease,” said Scientific Founder Ichida. “By identifying targets on the microglia that reprogram them into protective states, we leverage the natural, evolutionary function of the neuroimmune system to protect and repair neurons.”

Beyond developing treatments that improve patients’ outlook, the company’s broader vision is to map the entire neuroimmune system to create a better understanding of how neurodegenerative diseases are interrelated.

“Our inspiration comes from the technical inflections in stem cell engineering and AI that now enable us to construct intricate cellular models of the neuroimmune system. We use AI to create multi-layered maps of cellular systems, and accurately predict the effects of genetic mutations, drugs, and their combinations on cells like microglia,” said Modulo CTO Scott Patterson. “By embracing the complexity of the neuroimmune system, we can discover drugs that make an impact across neurodegenerative diseases.”

Photo: Modulo CEO Michael Horowitz

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