A private biotech company focused on developing precision solutions for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) has received funding from three investors.

QurAlis was formed by Harvard professors and stem cell pioneers in 2016 to develop new technologies to find a cure for ALS, also known as Motor Neurone Disease (MND), which currently has no cure or effective treatment.

The company has raised seed funding from biotech companies including MP Healthcare Venture Management (MPH), Amgen Ventures, and Alexandria Venture Investments. This builds upon initial support from ALS-focused friends and family investors.

One of the investors, MPH, is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation, the company that developed Radicava, the only ALS treatment option approved by the FDA in the last 20 years.

The funding will be used to develop three precision therapies targeting three distinct subtypes of ALS: a drug to restore a dysfunctional cellular waste clearance system that progressively poisons neurons, a drug to treat overactive neurons and prevent cell death via excitotoxicity, and a transformative device to remove toxic proteins.

The company’s research programmes are designed to rapidly move from the identification of validated molecular targets, through the development of therapies and clinical biomarkers, and towards clinical trials, regulatory and IP strategy, and registration.

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QurAlis CEO Dr Kasper Roet said: “MPH is joined by Amgen Ventures, supported by a strong internal focus on ALS as a therapeutic area of interest at Amgen, and Alexandria Venture Investments, a long-standing biotech investor which has recognised the enormous potential of QurAlis. The participation of MPH, Amgen and Alexandria is an incredible validation of our strategy and brings us closer to bringing innovative precision medicine to ALS patients.”

In 2017, QurAlis won Amagen’s LabCentral Golden Ticket award, granting the company a year of access to Amagen’s laboratories and mentoring from Amgen scientists.

Amgen vice-president of neurosciences John Dunlop said: “The Amgen Ventures investment in QurAlis aligns with Amgen’s commitment to advancing novel neuroscience research to bring needed therapies to patients. We are delighted to further support QurAlis’ innovative technologies in their mission to help patients with this extremely debilitating disease.”

ALS is a group of rare neurological diseases that affect the nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movements involved in chewing, walking, and talking. The average life expectancy is only three years. Success with any of the therapies being developed by QurAlis has the potential to have a significant impact on patients with ALS.

The total amount of seed funding raised has not been disclosed.