Authored by Karl Simpson
New Enterprise Associates (NEA) has been showing its increasing appetite for rare disease investments as it puts it recent fund to work. With money already invested in companies like Cydan Corporation (led by Cristina Csimma), KLS Partners and Prosensa. Now the company has co-led an investment syndicate which will give Lumos Pharma a series A round of $14m. NEA will co-lead with Sante Ventures.
Rare Diseases is often seen as a field demanding specific experience of the orphan drugs business, and Lumos Pharma has a very experienced team with Rick Hawkins as CEO and Jon Saxe as Chairman. Both have strong reputations in this market and clearly demanded investor confidence in bringing in this series A round.
The series A funding will be used for the purpose of advancing both pre-clinical and clinical programmes for lead therapeutic asset LUM-001, a small-molecule compound indicated for the treatment of Creatine Transporter Deficiency (CTD). In early studies the drug has shown disease modifying potential for CTD.
Creatine Transporter Deficiency (CTD) is a metabolic disease caused by an inborn defect in the x-linked creatine transporter SLC6A8 gene. The disease manifests symptoms such as mental retardation, severe expressive speech and language delay and autistic behaviour.
Lumos Pharma has been working with researchers from NCATS, part of the NIH. It once again shows the importance of stakeholder partnerships in advancing therapies in the unmet medical needs of so many rare diseases. The company will now work with established investors and strong researchers to progress the company and hopefully take LUM-001, which has orphan drug designation from the FDA, through to marketing approval.
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