US firm developing cell therapy for serious neurological disorders raises $40m in funding
New York-based Innervace, a regenerative medicine company developing the first implantable biofabricated neural pathway to restore brain circuitry, has raised up to $40m in Series A financing.
The round was led by healthcare investment firm, Deerfield Management. Also participating was founding investor IP Group, Inc, in addition to Penn Medicine, WARF Ventures, and BioAdvance.
The company said the financing will be used to advance pre-clinical proof-of-concept studies for its lead program, a regenerative therapy that represents a new treatment modality for patients with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) – it is said to mimic the lost nigrostriatal pathway in such individuals.
Reconstructing neural pathways
Innervace said its approach is radically different to other experimental cell therapies currently undergoing clinical trials. While those therapies are focused on replacing lost or damaged dopamine-producing neurons, its platform is designed to reconstruct patients’ neural pathways more broadly, specifically the nigrostriatal pathway, to repair lost circuitry resulting from the disease.
And it is doing so through the development of implantable tissue-engineered ‘living scaffold’ brain pathways - the platform was initially developed by D Kacy Cullen and Douglas Smith from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.
As part of the partnership with Deerfield Management, Innervace will also license a cell source that generates neurons with a more defined dopaminergic phenotype. This cell source was developed through a collaborative research project between UC San Diego and Deerfield.
The company believes both its pathway reconstruction technology and the distinct cell types together will differentiate its approach.