Neurimmune, a Zurich-based Biotechnology Company and TVM Capital Life Science, a venture capital fund domiciled in Munich and Montréal, today announced their investment in AL-S Pharma AG. AL-S Pharma will develop, to proof-of-concept, AP-101, a human monoclonal antibody targeting misfolded SOD1 for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that was generated and pre-clinically validated by Neurimmune’s Reverse Translational Medicine platform.
ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord leading to the progressive paralysis of the muscles that control voluntary movement. Eventually, patients lose their ability to breathe and most people with ALS die from respiratory failure within three to five years from the onset of symptoms. To date, no disease-modifying treatment is available for ALS.
“We are very excited to see another monoclonal antibody developed through our Reverse Translational Medicine platform moving towards clinical development,” says Jan Grimm, CSO of Neurimmune and Member of the Board of AL-S Pharma. “ALS is a terrible disease, and we believe that AP-101 has the potential to provide therapeutic benefit to the patients suffering from it.”
TVM Capital Life Science and AL-S Pharma have the option to engage with Chorus, an autonomous unit of Eli Lilly and Company, to execute an efficient and cost-effective clinical plan. AL-S Pharma will also leverage its extensive product development expertise to potentially bring AP-101 to human proof-of-concept and aims to initiate the first human dose study in ALS patients in 2018 in collaboration with an international network of ALS clinics.
“The management team of AL-S Pharma is excited to collaborate with Chorus and TVM Capital Life Science, the advisor to the investing fund, to develop this promising drug candidate to clinical proof-of-concept,” said Michael Salzmann, COO of Neurimmune and AL-S Pharma’s CEO.
TVM Life Science Ventures VII, is a unique arrangement between TVM Capital Life Science and numerous limited partners, including Lilly. The fund follows a capital-efficient investment approach to finance and access innovation while managing risk and sharing reward. “TVM Capital Life Science is proud to have catalysed the creation of AL-S Pharma AG in Switzerland and to have secured the rights to a compound that represents a new and innovative approach to neurodegeneration and ALS. This transaction is another demonstration of the benefits of our investment model in Europe, and the extent of our network,” said Hubert Birner, Managing Partner with TVM Capital Life Science and Chairman of the Board of AL-S Pharma. “We are pleased to collaborate with Michael Salzmann and Dirk Schimkat, who will act as CEO and CFO respectively for AL-S Pharma bringing continuity from Neurimmune.”
“Neurodegeneration is a core therapeutic area where Lilly is committed to identifying, accessing and shaping innovation for patients who are waiting,” said Christer Nordstedt, Lilly's vice president of neuroscience research and clinical development. “Working as a limited partner with TVM Capital Life Science is an important part of our risk-sharing strategy to complement the molecules we’re evaluating in our labs with the best discoveries from outside the company.”