Knopp Neurosciences Inc., a Pittsburgh-based developer of biomarkers and drug therapy for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, has raised $10 million in Series B funding. Backers include Saturn Partners, Kramer Capital Partners and LaunchCyte LLC.
Knopp Neurosciences Inc. (“Knopp”) said it completed a Series B funding round of $10 million, increasing its total capitalization to $20 million.
The latest financing involved the exercise of milestone-based callable warrants held by existing investors in Knopp. The company anticipates making a further Series B call of $10 million following the initiation of Phase 2 studies of KNS-760704 in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
“Our funding arrangements will meet our capital requirements so long as we continue to achieve the milestones we established with our investors in advance,” said Michael Bozik, M.D., president and CEO of Knopp. “Hitting value creation milestones provides our investors with an objective measure for judging our performance and confidence that we’ll continue to efficiently advance our programs in ALS and neurodegeneration.”
Saturn Capital Inc. of Boston acted as exclusive placement agent for Knopp’s Series A and Series B financings. Participants in the latest financing included investors in Knopp’s $10 million Series A round of late 2006, including Saturn Partners II of Boston, Kramer Capital Partners of Stamford, CT, and LaunchCyte LLC of Pittsburgh.
Knopp expects to initiate Phase 2 studies of KNS-760704 in early 2008.
KNS-760704 is a chirally pure, oral formulation of the synthetic amino-benzothiazole (6R)-4,5,6,7-tetrahydro-N6-propyl-2,6-benzothiazolediamine dihydrochloride monohydrate in clinical development for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Like its S(-) optical enantiomer, pramipexole dihydrochloride (Mirapex�), KNS-760704 has been shown to be effective in a range of neuroprotective assays. Unlike Mirapex�, a selective, high affinity dopamine agonist approved for the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease, KNS-760704 exhibits very limited dopamine receptor affinity, making it possible to clinically evaluate its potential neuroprotective activity over a broad dose range. The compound’s use in ALS has received orphan drug designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Phase 1 studies in healthy volunteers have been completed.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often called Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a rapid, universally fatal neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive muscle weakness and wasting. ALS affects adults in the prime of life and creates a substantial burden for caregivers. U.S. prevalence is approximately 30,000 and the incidence is nearly 2 per 100,000. Only a single drug has been approved for the treatment of ALS. Life expectancy after symptom onset is usually three to five years.
About Knopp Neurosciences Inc.
Knopp Neurosciences is a drug discovery and development company focused on delivering breakthrough treatments for neurological disorders through innovation, experience, and partnership. The company’s lead product candidate is KNS-760704, an orally bioavailable small molecule in development for the treatment of ALS. Knopp’s leadership includes experienced neuroscience drug development and discovery executives formerly associated with major pharmaceutical companies. Knopp’s financing has been led by Saturn Capital Inc. of Boston as placement agent and Saturn Partners II as lead funder.
Mirapex� is a registered trademark of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma KG Corporation.