Alzeca Biosciences said today that it raised $11 million in a Series A round to fund the development of its MRI imaging agent designed for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
The company touts its ADx nanoparticle as the first MRI contrast agent to target amyloid – a brain protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Alzeca said that its newly-acquired funds will help bring its imaging compound through Phase I clinical trials.
“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,” Alzeca CEO Carlo Medici said in prepared remarks.
With conventional methods, it’s difficult to accurately diagnose patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Although recent research has shown that PET brain imaging of amyloid plaque buildup could boost dementia diagnosis in some patients, Alzeca pointed out that PET imaging is costly and not widely-available to healthcare providers.
MRI technology is more broadly available than PET imaging and doesn’t expose patients to radiation. Being able to detect Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms appear could change the way that the debilitating neurological condition is treated, the Houston-based company said.
In connection with the Series A round, Chemwerth president & CEO Peter Werth, Jr., and Nevakar founder & CEO Navneet Puri joined Alzeca’s board of directors.
“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,” Werth said. “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,” Puri added. “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.”