Biotechnology firm Alector has raised $133m in a series E financing round to support further development of its clinical programmes and expand its discovery platform.
The funding round was joined by AbbVie Ventures, Lilly Asia Ventures, Amgen Ventures, the Dementia Discovery Fund, Deerfield Management and Federated Kaufmann Fund, among others.
Alector intends to focus on its portfolio of immuno-neurology and immuno-oncology programmes, with plans to initially advance three programmes targeting Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia.
Alector chief business officer Sabah Oney said: “There has been a lack of new approaches to treat the underlying causes of devastating neurodegenerative diseases such as frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Alzheimer’s disease.
“At Alector, we are focused on the advancement of innovative, first-in-class medicines to treat these serious diseases.”
The immuno-neurology drugs being developed by the company use the brain’s own immune system to act against various pathologies at the same time and address neurodegeneration.
Alector CEO Arnon Rosenthal said: “We anticipate that empowering a patient’s own immune system could provide as much benefit for patients suffering from neurodegeneration as immuno-oncology therapies have demonstrated for cancer patients.”
The company’s initial neurodegenerative disease therapeutic candidates are AL001, AL002 and AL003.
AL001 is designed to target causal mutations to treat FTD, while AL002 tackles triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) associated with the development and progression of different neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s.
AL003 is being developed to target the SIGLEC-3 transmembrane receptor expressed on cells of myeloid lineage, a known prevalent risk factor for Alzheimer’s.
It is expected that the new therapies will help to address the unmet need to treat Alzheimer’s and FTD, which currently lack US Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs with direct effect on the disease progression.