Praxis raises $110 million to target CNS disease with Phase II drugs
Just two months after bursting onto the neuroscience scene, Praxis Precision Medicines has added $110 million in funding to pursue therapies for central nervous system disorders.
Praxis came out of stealth mode in May after banking $100 million in funding and putting two drugs in Phase II development. While Big Pharma has strayed away from neuroscience, Praxis set out to identify mutations that cause epilepsy in patients who did not inherit the disease. The company is now applying its discoveries to potential treatments for other CNS diseases, such as depression, epilepsy, movement disorders and pain syndromes. It has three drugs in the clinical pipeline.
“As was achieved in oncology decades ago, recent genetic insights have presented meaningful opportunities to treat brain disorders in entirely different and targeted ways based on the specific genetically validated pathways driving a patient’s disease,” Praxis co-founder and board member Kiran Reddy said in a prepared statement. “We are reducing these insights to practice, to create novel medicines that could fundamentally alter the treatment path and outcomes for patients with brain disorders.”
PRAX-114 — Praxis’ lead program and one of its two Phase II drugs — targets major depressive disorder and perimenopausal depression. Plans are in place to enter the drug, a GABA positive allosteric modulator, in a pivotal trial this year. The other Phase II drug, PRAX-944, is a T-type calcium blocker that addresses essential tremor. The company told Endpoints News in May that it plans to have proof-of-concept results for the latter drug by the end of the year.
PRAX-562 is currently in Phase I development for the treatment of pediatric epilepsy and adult cephalalgia.
“We are pleased with and excited by this financing, which supports our continued mission to develop best-in-class therapies that deliver long-term value to human health,” Praxis president and CEO Marcio Souza said in a news release. “With three programs currently in clinical development for five indications, and additional programs in earlier stages of development, we are making great strides to bring new treatments to patients in the CNS space.”
A swath of investors — old and new — supported the Series C1 financing, led by Eventide Asset Management. The list includes Vida Ventures, Novo Holdings, Blackstone Life Sciences, OCV Partners, Avoro Capital Advisors, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company), Point72, Cormorant Asset Management, Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), Irving Investors, Adage Capital Management, Verition Fund Management and Ample Plus Fund.
“At Eventide, we believe that by combining a focus on therapeutic targets defined through human genetics with novel translational tools and efficient clinical development paths, Praxis has the potential to significantly impact patients with CNS disorders,” Eventide Chief Investment Officer Finny Kuruvilla, said in the release. “The company has made significant progress in advancing a broad pipeline addressing important areas for therapeutic intervention, and we are delighted to support the team in achieving their mission.”