Muna Therapeutics Launches with US$ 73M Series A to Advance Novel Small Molecule Therapeutics for Neurodegenerative Diseases
Muna Therapeutics (“Muna”), pioneering the development of first-in-class small molecule therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases, today announced the successful closing of a US$ 73 million (EUR 60 million) Series A financing round. The investor syndicate was co-led by Novo Holdings, Sofinnova Partners, Droia Ventures and LSP Dementia Fund, with Polaris Partners, Polaris Innovation Fund, Sanofi Ventures, V-Bio Ventures and VIB joining the round.
Muna is the combination of two innovative European start-up companies. Muna was founded in 2020 by progranulin pathway thought leaders Professor Simon Glerup and his team from Aarhus University, Denmark, with investor Novo Holdings. Muna developed a strategic partnership on additional targets with Axxam SpA, based in Milan, Italy, which became a minority shareholder. Muna is part of Novo Seeds’ company creation efforts, where the Novo team and its entrepreneurs-in-residence help build new biotech companies based on groundbreaking new science.
Muna joined forces with K5 Therapeutics, co-founded in 2020 by Professor Bart De Strooper from VIB-KU Leuven, Belgium, a pioneer in neurodegenerative diseases research, with investors Droia Ventures and VIB. The combined company – Muna Therapeutics – will be based in Copenhagen and Leuven and is led by seasoned pharma executives CEO Rita Balice-Gordon and COO Anders Hinsby, both entrepreneurs-in-residence of Novo Seeds.
Neurodegenerative diseases affect millions of individuals, with increasing global impact as the population ages. Palliative treatments are scarce, and no curative therapies are currently available. Muna is focused on addressing the staggering unmet need experienced by patients around the world with neurodegenerative disorders.
Muna’s innovative all-in-human target discovery and validation platform is based on proprietary insights into molecular pathways in different human brain cell types that underlie disease pathology and resilience to neurodegeneration, based on work from the De Strooper and Glerup laboratories. Muna has built a cutting-edge small molecule drug discovery engine that leverages high-resolution target structural approaches, AI-driven computational chemistry and cell-based screening. The financing will be used to advance Muna’s small molecule programs focused on repairing neuronal dysfunction, resolving neuroinflammation and restoring neuroprotection and resilience to disease to Investigational New Drug (IND) applications.
“We are in an era of rapid advancement in understanding how to slow or stop the relentless progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Frontotemporal Dementia that devastate cognition and quality of life of patients as well as caregivers.” said Rita Balice-Gordon, Chief Executive Officer of Muna Therapeutics. “Our team is committed to leveraging our collective expertise to deliver impactful disease modifying small molecule therapeutics to patients as rapidly as possible.”
The Board of Directors includes: Morten Graugaard Døssing, Partner at Novo Holdings, current Chairman; Henrijette Richter, Managing Partner at Sofinnova Partners; Cillian King, Investment Manager at LSP; Luc Dochez, Partner at Droia Ventures; Isaac Ciechanover, Partner at Polaris Partners; Laia Crespo, Head of Investments at Sanofi Ventures; and Rita Balice-Gordon, CEO of Muna.
Morten Graugaard Døssing, Chairman of the Board and Partner at Novo Holdings, said: “Novo Seeds is delighted to welcome a global syndicate of first-class investors who strongly believe in Muna’s world-leading science, experienced leadership team, and its potential to develop innovative treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. We are honored to co-lead this round with Sofinnova Partners, Droia Ventures and LSP Dementia Fund – a tremendous joint effort to bring Muna to the next level.”