Swiss company Neurosterix has launched into the neurological drug development scene with $63m in Series A funding to develop allosteric modulators for the treatment of neurological disorders.

The company also purchased several preclinical assets for treating neurological disorders and the allosteric modulator drug discovery technology platform from Addex Therapeutics.

Addex received SFr5m ($5.5m) and 20% equity in Neurosterix in exchange for the drug candidates and technology.

The Series A financiers included US-based investment company Perceptive Advisors through the Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund II and Perceptive Life Sciences Fund, along with another US-based venture capital firm Acorn Bioventures.

Neurosterix disclosed that its lead programme is a muscarinic acetylcholine receptor subtype 4 positive allosteric modulator (M4 PAM) for the treatment of schizophrenia. The company did not disclose the details of other preclinical pipeline assets.

The use of PAMs for the treatment of neurological disorders has been an area of focus in recent months. In December 2023, AbbVie agreed to acquire Cerevel Therapeutics for $8.7bn. Emraclidine, a selective M4 receptor PAM, was at the centre of the deal.

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Following the news of the asset purchase, Addex’s stock rose by more than 16.3% at the market close on 3 April, compared to the market close on the previous day. Addex’s CEO Tim Dyer will also serve as the CEO of Neurosterix, along with multiple executives who will assume dual roles at both Addex and Neurosterix.

Addex added that it will retain the allosteric modulator assets that are being developed in partnerships with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Indivior, respectively. ADX71149 is a PAM of metabotropic glutamate receptor 2 (mGlu2 PAM), which is being developed in collaboration with J&J. It is being evaluated in a Phase IIa proof of concept clinical trial (NCT04836559) as a treatment for epilepsy. Data from the trial is expected in Q2 this year.

Indivior has licensed the gamma-aminobutyric acid subtype B (GABA-B) PAM programme from Addex. INDV-1000, a GABA-B PAM, is in preclinical development as a treatment for alcohol use disorder.

Furthermore, Addex also retains the rights to another drug, dipraglurant, and a GABA-B PAM candidate for the treatment of chronic cough. The company plans to start a Phase II trial evaluating dipraglurant, a metabotropic glutamate subtype 5 (mGlu5) negative allosteric modulator (NAM), for post-stroke sensorimotor recovery this year.