Biotechnology company Autobahn Therapeutics has raised $32.7m in funding to support the advancement of ABX-002 for treatment-resistant depression (TRD).

The existing shareholders who have participated in the financing round include Cowen Healthcare Investments, Pfizer Ventures, Samsara BioCapital, BVF Partners, ARCH Venture Partners, Biogen, Bristol Myers Squibb, Invus, Section 32, Alexandria Venture Investments and GT Healthcare.

Autobahn intends to use the funding to support ABX-002 advancement through Phase I and Phase II proof-of-concept (PoC) clinical studies in TRD patients.

The potent and selective, brain-boosting thyroid receptor beta (TRβ) agonist ABX-002 is being developed to treat multiple CNS disorders.

It is expected to improve the serotonin activity in TRD patients’ brain.

ABX-002 is anticipated to boost antidepressant treatments by potentiating the benefits of current drugs used for monoaminergic signalling.

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In the second half of this year, the company plans to commence a Phase I single and multiple-ascending dose study with ABX-002 involving healthy participants.

Autobahn chairman, president, and CEO Kevin Finney said: “Since founding, our focus has been on advancing meaningful therapeutic options for people with CNS disorders, and this latest financing allows us to continue toward execution of that mission.

“We have conducted comprehensive work with our lead asset, ABX-002, and followed the science, which led us to select TRD as the ideal indication for clinical development.

“Based on extensive literature supporting the role that thyroid hormone plays in depression, we have a significant opportunity to enhance the care of people with this challenging-to-treat disorder.”

Additionally, the company has established a scientific advisory board (SAB) to support the advancement of ABX-002 in TRD.

Furthermore, Autobahn plans to assess the opportunities to develop the therapy in additional indications, such as multiple sclerosis and remyelination, depending on the data from the Phase I TRD study.