HOUSTON, TX, August 17, 2017 — Alzeca Biosciences, Inc., an early-stage healthcare diagnostic company focused on developing novel MRI-based targeted imaging agents for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, announced today that it has closed an $11 million Series A financing.
With the transaction, Peter J. Werth, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Chemwerth, Inc., and Navneet Puri, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nevakar, LLC, joined the Alzeca Board of Directors.
Alzeca will use the funds to advance the development of its ADx nanoparticle, the first magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent targeting amyloid plaques, through Phase 1 human clinical trials. Amyloid is one of the key brain proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions. Additionally, the new funding will enable Alzeca to accelerate development of MRI-based imaging agents targeting other abnormal brain proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
“We are very pleased to complete this significant round of financing with experienced private investors who have a firm commitment to advancing these urgently needed healthcare innovations in Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia,” said Carlo Medici, CEO of Alzeca.
Until now, the accuracy of diagnosis in Alzheimer’s disease has been very low. Recent research has suggested that PET (positron-emission tomography) brain imaging of amyloid plaque deposition could improve dementia diagnosis in up to two-thirds of patients. However, PET imaging is costly, not widely available to healthcare providers, and subjects patients to high doses of radiation (equivalent to up to 70 chest x-rays). By comparison, the successful development of ADx would make early and reliable Alzheimer’s diagnostic testing available worldwide, using MRI scanning technology that is broadly accessible, at far lower cost and without any radiation exposure. Detection of Alzheimer’s disease a decade or more before symptoms appear would revolutionize its treatment and vastly improve the efficiency of clinical trials for new therapies by identifying appropriate candidates for participation and monitoring their response to new drugs.
“The ability to diagnose neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s years before serious cognitive impairment manifests, so as to potentially intervene therapeutically at an early stage in the disease process, is a significant healthcare challenge,” said Mr. Werth. “We are excited to partner with Alzeca because its promising MRI brain imaging agents offer great potential not only to advance the early diagnosis of such conditions but also to aid in monitoring patient response to treatment both during drug development and in the clinic.”
“Alzeca is addressing a critical healthcare need and has assembled a highly experienced management team composed of world-renowned experts in diagnostic imaging, clinical neurosciences and commercial pharmaceutical and biomedical development,” said Dr. Puri. “Bringing novel diagnostic approaches and more accurate biomarkers to address the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases is a worthy cause and will benefit millions of patients, caregivers and healthcare providers. I am very happy to support them and invest in this endeavor.”