Oligomerix raised $2 million in a Series A round of financing to progress its tau protease inhibitor program for treating Alzheimer disease. The financing round comprises both the issue of new convertible preferred shares and debt conversion.
Oligomerix is focused on the development of small molecule drugs and immunotherapeutics that target neurotoxic tau oligomers for the treatment of Alzheimer disease and related neurodegenerative disorders. The tau protease inhibitor program aims to neutralize tau outside of neurons, which the firm says is a more feasible drug discovery approach than targeting intraneuronal tau oligomer formation. The firm has developed a compound screening assay to identify disease-modifying small drugs and antibody-based therapeutics targeting tau oligomers and their proteolytic activity.
“Our research has shown that inhibiting tau oligomer protease may be an effective intervention for not only improving cognitive function, but also interrupting disease progression in Alzheimer disease,” comments James Moe, Ph.D., president and CEO. “Oligomerix’ primary goal is to identify, optimize, and select three to five lead NCEs to enable in vivo studies in a tauopathy mouse model to isolate candidates for IND-enabling studies...Based on our research, the well-characterized reproducible pattern of the initiation and spread of pathological aggregates of tau protein during the progression of Alzheimer disease provides a direct intervention point for tau protein’s mechanism of action, and a druggable target.”
Four of the firm’s product development programs have received grant funding from the NIH, the National Institute of Aging, and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation. In November 2011 Oligomerix was awarded a $1.6 million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research from the NIH to progress its tau-targeting small molecule and antibody programs, both for drug development and biomarker applications.