AstronauTx, a pioneering UK-based biotech startup focused on developing innovative treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, has successfully closed an impressive £48 million Series A funding round. This substantial investment was spearheaded by Novartis Venture Fund, with significant contributions from global venture heavyweights like Brandon Capital, Bristol Myers Squibb, EQT Life Sciences (investing from the LSP Dementia Fund), and MPM Capital. Notably, the Dementia Discovery Fund, an existing investor, also joined in this round.
The infusion of funds is earmarked to propel AstronauTx's portfolio of small-molecule drugs, which includes a clinical study dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease patients as part of their lead program. These treatments aim to provide both symptomatic relief and disease-modifying benefits.
Founded in 2019 with the support of the Dementia Discovery Fund and led by David Reynolds and Ruth McKernan, AstronauTx is on a mission to develop groundbreaking drugs that rectify the disrupted brain physiology, primarily by enhancing the support function of astrocytes, the brain’s most prevalent cell type.
Recent months have witnessed significant progress for AstronauTx in revolutionizing treatments for brain-related disorders. In July, the company forged a strategic partnership with Saniona, a Danish biotech firm, to explore new treatments by targeting an undisclosed ion channel. Additionally, AstronauTx expanded its program portfolio, reaffirming its commitment to driving innovation in this vital field.
Furthermore, in September, the company secured a notable Innovate UK grant that will play a pivotal role in funding preclinical work on one of its promising programs.
AstronauTx's unwavering dedication to pioneering advancements in Alzheimer’s treatments and related neurodegenerative disorders remains steadfast, and this substantial funding will be instrumental in realizing this vision.
AstronauTx is dedicated to developing medicines that address issues in brain function, with a primary focus on enhancing the support provided by astrocytes, a type of brain cell.
While the company continues to explore astrocytes, they are also actively researching ways to combat dementia symptoms arising from brain degeneration.
Scientists have been intrigued by the potential of astrocytes in treating Alzheimer’s disease. The treatments in development are anticipated to address both the symptoms and the underlying causes of the disease.
The brain is responsible for not only storing memories but also clearing waste that accumulates throughout the day. AstronauTx aims to improve this waste-clearing process, preventing the buildup of harmful proteins that contribute to brain problems.
Dr. Ruth McKernan, co-founder of AstronauTx, stated: “We now know that the processes causing Alzheimer’s and other similar diseases are modifiable. Progress towards a compendium of new drugs against these devastating diseases is thankfully well underway. Our treatments will be oral drugs, applicable across multiple neurodegenerative conditions, and additive with mechanisms that are currently in late-stage development.”
Dr. Marianne Uteng, Managing Director at the Novartis Venture Fund, commented: “We are proud to have gathered a stellar international syndicate that aims to develop new therapies for Alzheimer’s Disease. The founders and investors include world experts in neuroscience, and the founder’s discovery is thought to have potential in halting disease progression & improve patients’ quality of life.”
Dr. Laurence Barker, Partner with the Dementia Discovery Fund, added: “DDF led the creation of AstronauTx to pursue the development of novel mechanisms to treat Alzheimer’s, and the lean team have done a fantastic job building an exciting early stage portfolio. We are thrilled to see their hard work recognized by this leading venture syndicate and raise sufficient capital to advance these novel approaches into patients.”