SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - December 01, 2015) - Neurona Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the transplantation of selected neurons to treat intractable neurological diseases, today announced its launch with a $23.5 million Series A financing led by The Column Group. Unlike more traditional therapeutic modalities such as small molecules or antibodies, Neurona is focused on unique compositions of cells that can be precisely targeted, integrated into damaged neural circuits, and provide activity-dependent regulation.
"We believe there is an unprecedented opportunity to create a novel class of therapeutics with the potential to permanently repair dysfunctional neural circuits," said Tim Kutzkey, interim Chief Executive Officer of Neurona and a Partner at The Column Group. "We are leveraging the rigorous scientific work and deep knowledge base of Neurona's founders to develop therapies with distinct advantages over existing approaches."
Neurona is founded by internationally recognized neuroscientists and stem cell pioneers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF):
- Arturo Alvarez-Buylla, PhD, Professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery, Heather and Melanie Muss Endowed Chair and Principal Investigator in the Brain Tumor Research Center
- Arnold Kriegstein, MD, PhD, John Bowes Distinguished Professor in Stem Cell and Tissue Biology and the Department of Neurology, and Founding Director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research
- John Rubenstein, MD, PhD, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Distinguished Professor in Child Psychiatry at the Nina Ireland Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology
- Cory Nicholas, PhD, VP of Research at Neurona Therapeutics and Assistant Professor (Adjunct) in the Department of Neurology at UCSF.
Neurona's founders have discovered that certain types of neuron transplants can rebalance nervous system activity, repair neural circuits, and rescue multiple animal models of disease. Neurona will utilize human stem cell derivatives for the treatment of diseases caused by dysregulated neural activity.
Neurona's Board of Directors includes: Tim Kutzkey, PhD, interim Chief Executive Officer of Neurona and Partner at The Column Group; David Goeddel, PhD, Managing Partner at The Column Group; Leo Guthart, PhD, Founder and Senior Advisor at Topspin Partners; Arnold Kriegstein, MD, PhD, Co-Founder, Professor of Neurology and Director of the stem cell center at UCSF; and Stephen Hauser, MD, Chair of Neurology at UCSF.
"Two decades of discoveries in the fields of stem cell biology, cortical brain development, and cell transplantation have revealed the potential for particular types of neurons to repair the nervous system, representing a possible breakthrough therapy for patients with devastating neurological diseases," said Cory Nicholas, Co-Founder, VP of Research at Neurona. "Neurona's talented team is working tirelessly towards making cell-based therapeutics a reality for these patients."
Neurona's leadership team is well-versed in the advancement of cell-based therapies and supported by a Scientific Advisory Board with deep expertise in stem cell and developmental neurobiology. Dr. Nicholas pioneered methods to derive specialized neuronal populations from human stem cells while an Assistant Professor at UCSF. Catherine Priest, PhD, VP of Preclinical Development at Neurona, filed the first successful IND application for a human pluripotent stem cell-based therapeutic as a former Senior Director at Geron Corporation. Neurona's Scientific Advisory Board features Allan Basbaum, PhD, Chair and Professor of Anatomy at UCSF; Lorenz Studer, MD, PhD, Professor and Director of the Center for Stem Cell Biology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; and Oscar Marin, PhD, Professor and Director of MRC Center for Developmental Neurobiology at King's College London.
About Neurona Therapeutics
Neurona Therapeutics is a pre-clinical stage biotechnology company focused on regenerative cell-based therapeutics to treat intractable neurological disease. Neurona's initial aim is to develop therapeutic compositions of specialized nerve cells for targeted delivery into the injured nervous system. The Company's founders comprise thought leaders in neuroscience and stem cell biology and are responsible for key advances in these fields. Neurona Therapeutics is located in South San Francisco, CA. For more information, please visit the company's website at www.neuronatx.com.