Prexton Therapeutics raised €29 million ($36 million) in Series B financing to support two Phase II trials with its lead Parkinson’s’ disease therapeutic Foliglurax (PXT002331). The fundraising round was co-led by Forbion Capital Partners and Seroba Life Sciences. Current investors, including Merck Ventures, also participated.

Geneva-based biopharma Prexton was founded in 2012 as a spinout from Merck Serono. The firm is developing a series of novel positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) of the metabotropic glutamate receptor mGluR4 for treating Parkinson’s disease. Lead compound Foliglurax is designed to directly improve the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, rather than replace or mimic the effects of dopamine, an approach which Prexton says loses efficacy over time as the disease progresses.

“We have developed a strong package of primate and Phase I clinical data with Foliglurax,” stated François Conquet, Prexton CEO. ‘We are now keen to begin our Phase II efficacy trials and continue the development of Foliglurax as a potential new therapeutic for Parkinson’s disease.”

“As part of the funding round, we are helping Prexton set up operations in The Netherlands and supporting the company in starting trials,” added Forbion’s Marco Boorsma, Ph.D., who has been appointed to the Prexton board of directors. “We have been very impressed with the science behind Foliglurax and the alternative route being explored by Prexton to treat this difficult disease. Early data is encouraging and we believe Prexton’s approach could make a significant difference in developing new treatment options for patients.”

Prexton was established through Merck Ventures' entrepreneurial partnership program and raised €8.7 million (about $10.8 million) in a Series A round of financing just under a year ago. Merck Serono and Prexton have developed the metabotropic glutamate receptor 4 (mGluR4) positive allosteric modulator (PAM) under license agreements with Domain Therapeutics. Domain provided Prexton with optimized compounds as part of their potentially €134 (approximately $166 million) license option agreement, signed in 2013.

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