2021-10-17| Funding

Axial Therapeutics to Advance Pipeline for Neurological Diseases with $37.25 Million Series C Funding

by Judy Ya-Hsuan Lin
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On October 13th, Waltham, MA-based Axial Therapeutics announced the completion of a $37.25 million Series C financing, adding a total investment to $115.9 million since its launch in 2016.

The financing round was led by new investors, OneVentures, a venture capital firm headquartered in Sydney, Australia, and the University of Tokyo Innovation Platform Company (UTokyo IPC), joined by Autism Impact Fund and Corundum Systems Biology (Tokyo, Japan). It also saw participation from existing investors like Longwood Fund, Seventure Partners, Taiho Ventures, and Domain Associates.

“We are grateful for the support and confidence demonstrated by both our existing and new investors in our novel microbiome approach. This significant capital raise enables us to … fulfill the potential of our robust drug discovery platform to identify new therapeutic targets in the gut and develop new medical interventions that make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients,” said A. Stewart Campbell, Ph.D., CEO of Axial Therapeutics.

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Funding Allocations

Axial’s drug discovery approach is built on the research conducted by Dr. Sarkis Mazmanian on the association of gut microbiome and serious neurological conditions at Caltech. The company said that it will use the latest funding to develop a pipeline of small molecule drugs with defined mechanisms of action to mitigate the impact of metabolites and bacteria in the gut linked to neurological disease pathology, progression, and symptoms.

Additionally, the funding will further advance the drug discovery programs based upon Axial’s existing platform in the microbiome gut-brain axis. One is the randomized, Phase 2b clinical trial of Axial’s lead candidate, AB-2004, which is a gut-restricted molecular therapy for irritability in children with autism.

“Axial is focused on fundamentally changing the way we approach neurological diseases by harnessing our specialized expertise on the biological role of the microbiome gut-brain axis and its influence on the central nervous system,” said Dr. Campbell.

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AB-2004 is a first-in-class, molecular therapeutic targeting the microbiome gut-brain axis and its crucial role in autism. The function of AB-2004 is to trap the bacterially derived metabolites in the gut before it enters the bloodstream and potentially attacks the brain. According to the Phase 1b/2a clinical trial, AB-2004 is safe and well-tolerated as well as absent of serious adverse events because Axial’s gut-targeted approach reduces the systemic exposure to the drug.


Talent Appointments

Axial announced that Sarah Meibusch from OneVentures and Makoto (Mark) Ohori, from UTokyo IPC have joined its board of directors.

“With proven scientific expertise in the gut-brain axis and a robust small molecule drug discovery program, Axial is poised to address unmet medical needs for serious neurological disorders, including autism and Parkinson’s disease,” said Ms. Meibusch.

“Axial has emerged as the scientific leader in microbiome gut-brain axis and its role in the central nervous system,” said Dr. Ohori. “We are excited to support the company as it works to fulfill the promise of AB-2004 for irritability in children with autism, and pursues new clinical development programs that leverage its expertise in the gut microbiome to bring forward gut-restricted therapies for a broad range of neurodegenerative diseases and neurodevelopmental disorders.”

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