Recently out-of-stealth neuroscience outfit unveils cash raise, more details on Lilly, Northwestern programs
Gate Neurosciences, well, came out of the gate in late August with a lineup of drugs, known as NMDA receptor modulators, for major depressive disorder and schizophrenia that it licensed from AbbVie.
It also shared that AbbVie and Eli Lilly were shareholders. But all other details, it kept to itself.
In its most recent update, Gate disclosed that it raised $25 million, with funding coming from Innoviva, Luson Bioventures, Biocrossroads, ThornApple Capital and others. Innoviva is the Theravance spinout that once held royalty rights to GSK’s inhaler Trelegy, before both it and Theravance sold those rights to Royalty Pharma for $1.3 billion upfront.
Gate also unveiled more details on its two additional licensing deals from its other Big Pharma backer, Eli Lilly, and Northwestern University. The program it licensed from Lilly includes preclinical mGlu2/3 receptor antagonists, which have antidepressant effects that are similar to ketamine. In June, citing Covid challenges, tiny Swiss biotech Addex Therapeutics terminated a Phase II/III study for Parkinson’s on its negative allosteric modulator mGlu5 (which indirectly blocks access to the receptor by changing the shape of the binding site, whereas antagonists directly block the site). Addex also has a mGlu2 positive modulator it is developing in partnership with J&J.
Gate is also studying the class of drugs in sleep disorders.
And with Northwestern, it is working on candidates targeted at the insulin-like growth factor 2 receptor, known as IGF2R for short, in cognitive disorders.
Gate was formed in 2020 by the former crew of Naurex — a biotech that was acquired by Allergan in 2015, which was subsequently acquired by AbbVie in 2019. And the Gate group jumped at the opportunity to license their legacy Naurex drugs, the NMDA receptor modulators, from AbbVie after it acquired Allergan.
In a previous interview with Endpoints News, Gate CEO Mike McCully noted that Gate’s modulators — zelquistinel and apimostinel, which he dubs the “-stinels” — target downstream of currently approved NMDA receptor antagonists for depression, such as J&J’s Spravato and Axsome’s Auvelity.
Gate expects to read out topline results from its Phase I study on apimostinel in healthy volunteers in the first quarter of next year and from its mid-stage study on zelquistinel in patients with major depressive disorder in mid-2024.