QurAlis, a clinical-stage biotech focused on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neurodegenerative diseases, announced that it has closed an oversubscribed $88 million Series B financing.
According to Kasper Roet, CEO and co-founder of QurAlis, the funding round recognizes the company’s scientific track record. “We are breaking down scientific barriers in our quest to bring much-needed precision therapies to patients,” Roet said in a statement.
In an interview at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference earlier this year, Roet said he has long wanted to develop therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. AI-based advances have helped shine a light on the genetic underpinnings of ALS. “There’s about 40 different genes that have been now identified that contribute to development of the disease,” Roet said. The continued breakthroughs helped convince Roet that the disease was “starting to become a tractable problem,” he said. “I think we can actually do something for ALS patients.”
QurAlis was founded in 2018 with a specific focus on neurodegenerative diseases, specifically amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and genetically-related frontotemporal dementia (FTD). The company’s co-founders include Kasper Roet and stem cell biologists and Harvard University professors Clifford Woolf and Kevin Eggan.
The company has also developed a QR43 platform to facilitate the discovery and development of novel therapies for different TDP-43 diseases. Its FlexASO splice modulator platform generates splice switching antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) with a high potency and therapeutic index.
QurAlis’ funding so far
To date, the company has raised a total of $143.5 million.
EQT Life Sciences co-led the financing with Sanofi Ventures and Droia Ventures. Other investors participating include the ALS Investment Fund and Lilly with the following existing investors:
- LS Polaris Innovation Fund.
- Mission BioCapital.
- INKEF Capital.
- Dementia Discovery Fund.
- Amgen Ventures.
- MP Healthcare Venture Management.
- Mitsui Global Investment.
- Dolby Family Ventures.
- Mission Bay Capital.
- Sanford Biosciences.
Clinical trial plans
QurAlis plans to use the funding to support clinical development of QRL-201 and QRL-101, its lead ALS product candidates.
According to QurAlis CEO Kasper Roet, the plans for those trials are as follows:
- Safety and tolerability study in healthy volunteers (Q1-Q3 2023)
- Dose setting trial in ALS patients to obtain data on target engagement and biochemical and electrophysiological biomarkers that predict ALS patient survival and disease progression (Q4 2023-2024)
- MAD/POC trial to determine safety and tolerability in ALS patients and to obtain data on target engagement, efficacy and responders using biochemical and electrophysiological biomarkers that predict patient survival and disease progression (2.5 years)
“The funding will also be used to progress major milestones within our pre-clinical pipeline and platform technology,” Roet said.
Restoring STMN2 expression
Also in a Phase 1 study, QRL-201 is a novel product candidate aiming to restore STMN2 expression in patients with ALS. STMN2 is a well-studied protein involved in neural repair and axonal stability. Its expression is significantly reduced in most ALS patients. In the company’s ALS patient-derived motor neuron disease models, QRL-201 restores STMN2 function with TDP-43 pathology.
QurAlis also plans on using the recent funding round to advance its pipeline with therapeutic candidates targeting specific components of ALS and genetically-related frontotemporal dementia (FTD) pathology. It also plans to continue studying defined ALS patient populations based on disease-causing genetic mutations and clinical biomarkers.
Cillian King, managing director at EQT Life Sciences, and Laia Crespo, partner at Sanofi Ventures, will join QurAlis’ board of directors as part of the Series B financing.
Filed Under: Neurological Disease
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