Aspen Neuroscience, Inc., a private biotechnology company developing autologous cell therapies, including the first iPSC-derived autologous neuron replacement treatment for Parkinson’s disease (PD), today announced the close of its Series B funding round of $147.5 million.
GV, LYFE Capital and Revelation Partners co-led the investment round with participation from additional new investors Newton Investment Management, Singapore-based global investor EDBI, LifeForce Capital, Medical Excellence Capital Partners, Mirae Asset Capital, NS Investment and others. As part of the financing, Doug Fisher of Revelation Partners will join the board of directors.
The raise included significant investments from Series A/Seed investment teams including OrbiMed, ARCH Venture Partners, Frazier Life Sciences, Section32 and Alexandria Venture Investments.
“As the leader in autologous cell therapy development, Aspen Neuroscience is preparing to study its first cell replacement candidate in Parkinson’s disease,” said Damien McDevitt, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer. “This company was founded by a visionary team of scientists and patient advocates, who envisioned a day when personalized cell replacement could be used to target neurodegenerative diseases. We are happy to be aligned with such a prestigious group of founders and investors, having raised more than $220 million since the company’s founding, towards our mission to develop transformational medicines for patients with limited treatment options.”
The Series B funding will support the planned studies of the company’s lead product candidate for Parkinson’s disease, ANPD001, including its patient Screening Cohort study and the upcoming Phase 1/2a clinical trial, post-IND submission to FDA.
“This is an important milestone in the field of cell therapy for neurodegenerative diseases and we are immensely proud of this innovative team, who are working to transform the field and to modify the course of Parkinson’s disease,” said Faheem Hasnain, Aspen Neuroscience chairman.
Aspen is the leading company developing a personalized cell replacement using a patient’s own cells, eliminating the need for immunosuppressive therapy. Developed from a simple skin biopsy, each patient’s stem cell-derived dopamine neurons will be evaluated for potential effectiveness using proprietary AI-based genomics tools, before being transplanted for clinical use.
Aspen Neuroscience’s process allows for a reduction in the time and cost of the manufacturing process required to produce a safe, reproducible, and personalized autologous cell therapy. To date, Aspen has performed in vitro and in vivo studies demonstrating that the protocol reliably produces dopamine-releasing neurons when examined both physiologically and functionally.
Dr. McDevitt, continued, “We combine stem cell biology with innovative AI/bioinformatic and manufacturing tools to develop patient-specific approaches. To that end, the Series B financing will also support our R&D pipeline, which includes autologous gene-corrected cells and programs that explore the treatment of other neurological diseases.”
Parkinson’s Disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, affecting around one million Americans and greater than ten million people worldwide, with 60,000 people newly diagnosed every year.
Even with the current standard of care therapy, patients eventually develop debilitating motor complications due to loss of dopamine neurons in the brain; approximately 50% are lost even before diagnosis. Cell replacement therapy of dopamine neurons has the potential to release dopamine and reconstruct neural networks.
Headquartered in San Diego, Aspen Neuroscience, Inc. is a development stage, private biotechnology company focused on personalized (autologous) cell therapies. The company is developing induced-pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to address diseases with high unmet medical need, beginning with autologous neuron replacement for both sporadic and genetic forms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and extending across the brain and affected organs.
A leading iPSC platform company, Aspen combines stem cell biology with the latest artificial intelligence and genomic approaches to investigate patient-specific, restorative treatments. The company has developed a best-in-class platform to create and characterize pluripotent-derived cell medicines, which includes in-house bioinformatics, manufacturing and QC.