24 February 2015
Prexton Therapeutics raises €8.7 million ($10 million) in a Series A round
Swiss based startup attracts venture funding from leading European VC firms to address Parkinson’s disease and other CNS conditions
Geneva, Switzerland, February 24 2015 – Prexton Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutic compounds for the treatment of CNS conditions including Parkinson’s disease, today announced the closing of a Series A financing of €8.7 million ($10 million) co-led by Sunstone Capital and Ysios Capital. Merck Serono Ventures (MS Ventures), the company’s founding investor will also participate.
Prexton Therapeutics was founded in 2012 by Francois Conquet and MS Ventures as part of the Merck Serono Entrepreneur Partnership Program, a facility set-up to support the creation of spin-offs from Merck Serono.
This first funding will help Prexton Therapeutics to develop, up to completion of Phase 1, novel small molecules that target the metabotropic Glutamate Receptor 4 (mGluR4) and have the potential to improve motor complications in Parkinson’s disease patients. The compounds were originally licensed from Domain Therapeutics, a French biopharmaceutical R&D company specializing in G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs).
“Our lead compound has demonstrated impressive efficacy in preclinical models. We look forward to advancing this compound up to the clinical stage in the coming year.” said Francois Conquet, CEO of Prexton Therapeutics.
The Prexton team combines the best research and development expertise in the CNS field. They have collaborated together over many years, and each member has a successful background in the pharma industry. “The caliber of the team and their collective scientific and industry expertise will make a huge impact in the development of this new series of molecules for Parkinson’s disease,” said Andreas Segerros, Partner at Sunstone Capital.
“Prexton Therapeutics is taking a uniquely promising approach to address Parkinson’s disease; a neurodegenerative pathology which still has huge unmet medical needs” said Raúl Martín-Ruiz, Investment Director at Ysios Capital.
“Prexton’s approach represents a novel way of developing treatments for Parkinson’s disease by stimulating a compensatory system that is not impacted by the disease. MS Ventures has been supporting Prexton from its foundation and we are excited about the progress the program has made so far and that we are about to reach clinical stage this year,” said Jasper Bos, Senior Director at Merck Serono Ventures.
In the course of this fundraising, Andreas Segerros of Sunstone and Raúl Martín-Ruiz of Ysios, will join the Board of Directors of Prexton. Jasper Bos will continue to represent MS Ventures.
Notes to Editors
About Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive neurological disorder characterized by a number of symptoms including tremors, limb stiffness, slowness of movements and difficulties with posture and balance. It is estimated that over 1 million people in the United States live with the disease. Parkinson’s disease is more prevalent in people over 60. The incidence of the disease is expected to increase as the average age of the population increases. Today, the worldwide market of Parkinson’s disease is around $3bn and is dominated by matured Dopaminergic treatments, which frequently induce negative side effects. Therefore, there is an overall consensus in the field, supporting the development of more efficient approaches, while limiting and even abolishing, the occurrence of adverse effects.
About Prexton Therapeutics
Prexton is a Swiss-based biopharmaceutical company, set-up in 2012 by Francois Conquet and MS Ventures as part of the Merck Serono Entrepreneur Partnership Program, a facility to support the creation of spin-offs from Merck Serono. Prexton is applying a new scientific approach that fully integrates molecular, behavioral and chemistry technologies to address Parkinson’s disease and other brain disorders. Prexton Therapeutics uses its powerful discovery platform to target specific novel compounds focused on the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.For further information see www.prextontherapeutics.com
About Sunstone Capital
Sunstone Capital is a leading pan-European venture capital investor founded in 2007 by an international team of industry experts with combined entrepreneurial, operational and financial experience. Sunstone Capital focuses on developing and expanding early-stage Life Science and Technology companies with strong potential to achieve global success in their markets. Within life science, Sunstone Capital has invested in more than 50 companies in the areas of pharmaceuticals, medical technologies and diagnostics, and has completed several successful M&A transactions and IPOs. With total funds of €700 million under management, Sunstone Capital is one of the larger European venture capital investors. For further information see www.sunstone.eu.
About Ysios Capital
Ysios Capital is a leading Spanish independent venture capital firm that provides private equity financing to early- and mid-stage human healthcare and life science companies. We target the entire healthcare and biotechnology industry, with a special focus on pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and medical devices. Founded in 2008, Ysios Capital has € 118 million in assets under management distributed over two funds. The second fund has a target size of € 100 million and will remain open to new investors until September 2015. For further information see www.ysioscapital.com
About Merck Serono VenturesMS Ventures is the strategic, corporate venture arm of the biopharmaceutical division of Merck. We invest globally in emerging biotechnology companies that develop products and or technologies that have the potential to significantly improve patient outcomes. Along with the €100 million MS Ventures fund, our team also manages the €30 million Entrepreneur Partnership Program fund established to support the creation of spin-offs and the € 10 million Israel Bioincubator Fund, focused on pre-seed and seed opportunities coming out of Israel.For further information see www.ms-ventures.com