MindImmune Therapeutics Announces $12.4 million Series A Financing
Company is pioneering a fundamentally new approach
to treating Alzheimer’s disease
Kingston, R.I. | June 13, 2022
MindImmune Therapeutics Inc., a drug discovery company pioneering a new approach to treat Alzheimer’s disease and other neuro-degenerative conditions, has announced its most recent closing on a $12.4-million Series A financing. Investors participating in the round include Dolby Family Ventures, Pfizer Ventures, the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), Trend Venture, RightHill Ventures (an affiliate of the Slater Technology Fund) and several private investors. Use of proceeds of the financing will support MindImmune in advancing its lead program in preclinical development, targeting Alzheimer’s disease as the primary indication.
MindImmune was launched by co-founders Stevin Zorn, Ph.D, Frank Menniti, Ph.D. and Robert Nelson, Ph.D., who originally met as scientific collaborators in central nervous system (CNS) research at Pfizer. After Pfizer, Drs. Zorn and Nelson joined H. Lundbeck AS, a leading CNS- focused pharmaceutical company, where they established one of the first pharma research groups targeting neuroinflammation. Following his tenure at Pfizer, Dr. Menniti was a co-founder of Mnemosyne Pharmaceuticals (later re-named Cadent Therapeutics), which was acquired by Novartis to further develop their novel NMDA receptor modulators. MindImmune is affiliated with the George and Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience at URI, where the co-founders have faculty appointments as Ryan Research Professors of Neuroscience.
Guided by human and animal model genetics, MindImmune has made a fundamental discovery that may relate to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The company has found that cells of the peripheral immune system enter and cause damage to neurons afflicted with Alzheimer’s pathology. MindImmune aims to develop a novel therapeutic antibody to act in the peripheral system to block immune cells from causing neural damage, thereby reducing cognitive symptoms and slowing progression of this devastating disease. The company is pursuing further research on the premise that this neuroinflammatory process may be the cause of central nervous system (CNS) damage in a broader range of neurodegenerative conditions.
“We are honored to have the support of both existing and new investors, several of which are recognized for their deep sector competence in the field of neurodegenerative diseases,” said Stevin Zorn, President and CEO of MindImmune. “With the resources provided, we are excited to accelerate our preclinical R&D activities, aiming to advance our lead program to IND candidate stage.”
According to Tracy Saxton, Ph.D., Managing Director at Dolby Family Ventures, “MindImmune has distinguished itself in pioneering a potentially fundamental new approach to modulate the innate immune response in Alzheimer’s disease. We are pleased to back this outstanding group of scientific founders to advance our understanding of the role of the innate immune system in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and to nominate a clinical candidate directly aiming to block the damage caused by these peripheral immune cells.”
As a part of this financing, the ADDF is supporting research on a new way to measure immune cell recruitment in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. This assay is designed to quantify the amount of peripheral immune cells recruited into the CNS in Alzheimer’s disease as well as potentially serve as a diagnostic and/or biomarker of neuroinflammation in patients afflicted with Alzheimer’s, aiding the broader R&D community as well as MindImmune’s internal program.
MindImmune Therapeutics Inc. is a venture-backed, drug discovery company co-founded by veteran central nervous system drug discovery scientists Stevin Zorn, Ph.D., Frank Menniti, Ph.D. and Robert Nelson, Ph.D., formerly colleagues within Worldwide Research & Development at Pfizer. The company aims to develop first-in-class therapeutics that target the immune system to treat disorders of the central nervous system, targeting conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. MindImmune scientists are at the forefront in recognizing therapeutic opportunities in neuroimmunology and have extensive track records of success in neuroscience-based pharmaceutical research and development. Based at the University of Rhode Island, MindImmune benefits from an affiliation with the George & Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience, Kingston, RI.