Neuro-Bio is a biotechnology company from the UK that develops treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The company is now looking to attract up to 10 million pounds sterling in stages to advance in the clinical development of its new molecule, NBP 14.
With these resources the company, whose headquarters are in Abindgon, Oxfordshire, will fund studies that enable IND and formulate and manufacture API. The second stage of the round is planned for the first quarter of 2022 and will serve to finance the Phase 1 studies, which are expected to start in the first quarter of 2023 and for which some 100 subjects will be recruited.
Neuro-Bio has discovered a new bioactive peptide of 14 amino acids (T14) derived from the extreme C of AChE. T14 is a neurotoxin in the adult brain and the data published show that it is a possible key factor in neurodegeneration. This new recognised mechanism is being explored by Neuro-Bio with the aim of discovering the first drugs in its class to treat AD and to develop a biomarker as a complementary diagnostic tool.
Thanks to their`project, Susan Greenfield, CEO and founder, and Sara García Rates, Director of Operations and member of Neuro-Bio since it was founded in 2013, are part of Rising UP in Spain from ICEX-Invest in Spain. In fact, the programme is focused on capturing foreign entrepreneurs that want to become established and grow in Spain. The selected startups receive resources to develop their business in Spain.
What does it mean to have been conceived at Oxford University?
Oxford University is the most enriching environment in which a scientific group could find themselves. The idea, the possibility of collaborations and the recognition on the part of the investors, made it possible to ideate, create and develop the seed that would become a patent and allow the company to be created in 2013.
What was your journey to obtain a therapeutic approach in neurodegenerative diseases like?
As has happened with many historical discoveries, after many years of study, of a biological process undertaken by Susan Greenfield at Oxford University, a spontaneous event, a suggestion to synthesize a molecule that could intercept this mechanism and stop the development of neurodegeneration, proved to be effective. Its effectiveness was confirmed after some weeks of clinical trials led by Dr Sara Garcia Ratés. This was the turning point to creating Neuro-Bio as a company committed to the treatment and detection of AD.
Are you now fully immersed in the search for financing to continue your project? Where are you exactly with this?
Neuro-Bio is currently in Phase C of financing, which requires 10 million pounds sterling.
What will these funds be used for?
The money that Neuro-Bio will collect in Phase C will basically allow us to develop the main drug up to Phase 1 in humans. And in parallel, it will enable us to progress in a biomarker for AD; the design of different chemical forms of the therapy; the development of a non-transgenic AD animal model; and to progress in a therapy for cancer metastasis, projects that are already covered by 16 patents owned solely by Neuro-Bio.
What are your middle- and long-term objectives? How developed will your solution be?
The main objective of Neuro-Bio is to develop all the properties associated with AD up to Phase 1 in humans, which is the point when we will look for a partner (a pharmaceutical company). The other projects owned by Neuro-Bio are in the discovery phase and a partner may be sought at less advanced phases because they require experts in the respective areas of development.
What is seeking financing like in these cases, when the results are produced long-term?
It isn’t easy. You have to convince private investors and the VC that Neuro-Bio’s hypotheses and product/products are unique. In the fields in which Neuro-Bio develop products, like AD and metastasis, there is currently no curative treatment, despite 20 years of investment and development in pharmaceutical companies. Neuro-Bio is in a unique and excellent situation strategically.
One of the financial aids you have received has come from Rising Up Spain. What does this recognition and support mean for you?
From the point of view of recognition, it is an honour: Being selected for this programme has shown that Neuro-Bio is an attractive company, with good ideas and good management organisation. And there is the support the programme has exposed us to in the Spanish and European markets, with enormous possibilities for collaboration with companies and research centres headquartered in Spain who did not know us before we were selected.
Why do you want to come to Spain? What is this process like?
Neuro-Bio is a growing company that has been involved with various collaborations and joint projects with Spanish companies since the start. These projects and collaborations in Spain have shown that it is a good location in which to develop them. What is more, Spain is a pioneer country for biotechnology startups and companies like Neuro-Bio.
How important is it that public institutions support projects of this type? What do you call for in this respect?
In the case of Neuro-Bio and companies like ours, the development of a drug for AD or for cancer is an indispensable task for the public institutions to finance projects of this type. The public health service spends millions of euros helping the population that suffers from these illnesses and they would benefit from a treatment.
What are you expecting from this country and what can it expect of you?
The successful development of a biomarker and the treatment for AD, and possibly one for metastasis in cancer, via collaborations, projects, financing, etc. We hope to find a potential partner to meet these challenges so that our treatments can reach the patient.