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Gaithersburg biotech company raises $36 million

(kwanchaidp /

(kwanchaidp /

Gaithersburg biotech startup Neuraly has raised $36 million for its potential Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease treatment, the company announced.

The company was founded is 2016 based on research at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s Institute for Cell Engineering that could help prevent protect against nervous system disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

“Currently, there aren’t any treatments that reverse, stop, or even slow neurodegeneration in diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s,” Seulki Lee, Neuraly’s CEO, said in a statement. “The treatments that do exist — all symptomatic — provide only temporary improvement in motor and cognitive function, but even these become less effective over time. We believe that the science supports NLY01 as a potential disease-modifying therapy capable of slowing the progression of the disease.”

Enough investors believe it, too. Several Korean venture funds, including Smilegate Investment, InterVest, LB Investment, Magna Investment, Geon Investment and Dongkoo Bio & Pharma participated in the investment round. U.S. funds, including the Maryland Venture Fund and Octave Life Sciences, also participated.

The company’s NLY01 drug, its main product, was developed through research led by Dr. Ted Dawson, a professor in neurodegenerative diseases and director of the Institute for Cell Engineering at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Phase 1 clinical trials for the drug are expected to begin sometime this year.

“We expect NLY01 to be a pioneering treatment for Parkinson’s with low development risks as we have seen unprecedented efficacy in preclinical models and well-characterized safety profiles in a similar class of molecules,” Viktor Roschke, Neuraly’s chief science officer, said in a statement.

Neuraly also has two other potential drugs in early development that could target other elements of neurodegenerative diseases.

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