Scale Angels investee company Cognition Therapeutics commences clinical trials in Melbourne
Cognition Therapeutics Inc. (CogRx), a privately held pharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing disease-modifying therapies for Alzheimer’s and related neurodegenerative diseases, announced today that it has commenced Phase 1 clinical studies in Melbourne. This study will examine the safety and pharmacokinetics of the company’s first-in-class oligomer displacement drug targeting the toxic beta-amyloid oligomers that cause Alzheimer’s disease. This drug has the potential to rapidly improve and possibly reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and to stop disease progression.
These studies are being supported by CogRx’s recently closed Series B capital raising of US$12 million. This financing came from an investment syndicate led by US based female entrepreneur-focused angel network Golden Seeds, and included Scale Angels. Scale is part of a growing global ecosystem that recognizes the importance of investing in women-led businesses.
Other investors included Bios Memory SPV1, Cowtown Angels, Dolby Family Ventures, Blue Tree Allied Angels, Maine Angels, as well as additional life sciences investors. Existing CogRx investors, including Ogden CAP, PLSG Accelerator Fund, Tech Coast Angels, ACE Fund, Ariel Southeast Angel Partners and M5Invest Partners also participated in the financing. The company recently announced this round was oversubscribed by 20% from its original target.
“Positive news on Alzheimer’s therapeutic clinical trials, since Scale Angels invested in CogRx, from Lilly and Biogen have renewed interest in the field on the part of scientist and investors” said Laura McKenzie, CEO of Scale Investors. “We have noticed a significant increase in investment activity in companies with relevant approaches to stopping this disease in the last few months.”
“CogRx’s novel approach to the disease, stage of development and strong patent portfolio combined with a management team composed of industry veterans makes it a compelling investment for our group” said Scale Angel lead investor Jenny Petering, senior patent attorney at FB Rice.
“CogRx’s drug works in a unique way that is different from, but could be complementary to the candidates being developed by other pharmaceutical companies” said Dr Chris Nave, Managing Director of Brandon Capital. “If CogRx’s drug is proven to be effective, we see genuine potential for synergy with other therapeutic approaches in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.”
“A number of factors came together here in Australia in a very unique way and led to the decision to conduct clinical trials of our first-in-class Alzheimer’s drug here” said Dr. Susan Catalano, Chief Science Officer of CogRx. “We were able to pair the top notch clinical expertise at Nucleus Networks with support capabilities at contract research organizations throughout Australia that were unobtainable at all the other locations we interviewed in the States and EU. That combined with the competitive pricing and a favorable exchange rate made Melbourne the obvious choice.
Finally, the scientific research on Alzheimer’s disease being conducted within The Florey Institute at the University of Melbourne offered the possibility of future collaborations with world-renowned experts in the field that are unmatched. We also look forward to using Australia as a base of operations to expand our global horizons into the Asia Pacific region. All told we are delighted to be here in Australia at a very exciting moment in our drug’s progress towards what we hope will be a major impact on this devastating disease.”
“CogRx approach is based on their discoveries related to the receptor that regulates binding of betaamyloid oligomers to brain cells” said Professor Colin Masters, Senior Deputy Director of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Laureate Professor, University of Melbourne. “This interesting work was published in PLOS One last November1 . Its exciting that these studies will be conducted here in Melbourne, and we look forward to opportunities to collaborate scientifically with the company.”
About Alzheimer’s Disease
According to Alzheimer’s Australia, almost 350,000 Australians are living with Alzheimer’s, which is the second leading cause of death on Australia. This is expected to increase to 900,000 by 2050. Total direct health and aged care system expenditure on people with dementia, Alzheimer’s being overwhelmingly the most common form, was at least $4.9 billion in 2009-10. By the 2060s, spending on dementia is set to outstrip that of any other health condition. It is projected to be $83 billion (in 2006-07 dollars), and will represent around 11% of health and residential aged care sector spending.
According to the World Alzheimer Report 2015, the global cost of caring for the 46 million people living with dementia is currently US$818 billion and is set to reach US$1 trillion by 2018, with further increases anticipated as the number of people affected increase to 131.5 billion by 2050.
These facts and figures, combined with the lack of any approved drugs that can slow or halt disease progression, make Alzheimer’s disease one of the most significant unmet medical needs of the present decade. Drugs such as CogRx’s that can significantly block and disrupt the binding and pathogenic signaling of the toxic forms of the beta-amyloid protein that causes Alzheimer’s have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.
About CogRx’s Alzheimer’s Program
CogRx clinical stage drug can efficiently displace toxic beta-amyloid oligomers bound to receptor proteins on brain cells at synapses, and reverse memory loss seen in genetically engineered transgenic mice expressing human Alzheimer’s genes.
Cognition Therapeutics is a privately held Pittsburgh-based pharmaceutical company using diseaserelevant screening and novel chemistry platform approaches to produce a pipeline of new small molecule drug candidates for protein–based diseases of the nervous system.
About Scale Investors
Scale is a female-focused angel investor network founded by Susan Oliver, Carol Schwartz, Annette Kimmitt and Laura McKenzie, and launched in July 2013, with support from the Victorian Government. Nationally Scale has recruited over 80 Angel investors and they anticipate launching a $25m coinvestment fund alongside Scale Angels within the next 6 months. To date, they have invested almost $3.0m in six women-led businesses.
Scale and CogRx media contacts
Laura McKenzie (Scale CEO)
+61 3 9653 5314 or +61 432 324 324
Jenny Petering (FB Rice, Scale Angel lead investor)
+61 438 263 890
Susan Catalano (CogRx)