Grifols, a producer of plasma therapies, agreed to make a $37.5 million equity investment in Redwood City, California-based Alkahest. The companies are planning to work together on the development of new plasma-based products for the treatment of cognitive decline in aging and disorders of the central nervous system (CNS), including Alzheimer's.
Grifols will make a cash payment in exchange for 45% of Alkahest's shares. Additionally, the company will pay $12.5 million and fund development of the plasma-based products, which may be commercialized by Grifols worldwide. Alkahest will receive milestone payments and royalties on sales of potential products.
According to Grifols, the investment and collaboration is part of the company’s commitment to research and develop therapeutic alternatives designed to contribute to both scientific and social development. Grifols will have two seats on Alkahest's board of directors and will collaborate with Alkahest researchers through the creation of a scientific joint steering committee.
“We are excited to be working with Grifols, a pioneer and leader in the development of plasmapheresis and plasma-based products,” said Alkahest CEO and co-founder, Karoly Nikolich, Ph.D. “By working together, we hope to translate our data from animal studies to humans” said Stanford professor and Alkahest co-founder Tony Wyss-Coray, Ph.D. “If we are successful, it could mean new therapeutic approaches for treating numerous diseases associated with aging including neural dysfunction and dementias such as Alzheimer's Disease.”
A fairly new company, Alkahest was founded last year to boost the research of Dr. Wyss-Coray and other leading scientists at Stanford University who demonstrated that factors in the blood of young animals were able to restore mental capabilities in old animals.
Recently, Alkahest was announced as a winner in the Johnson & Johnson Innovation JLABS Quick Fire Challenge, which was designed to recognize the most promising new, early-stage innovation companies. The firm will be one of 50 startups to be based in a new healthcare incubator: JLABS @South San Francisco.