Ataxion, Inc., a discovery-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapies for rare, debilitating and underserved neurological diseases, has secured Series A funding commitments totalling $17M from Atlas Venture and Biogen Idec.
The company’s lead program focuses on a group of orphan genetic disorders called hereditary ataxias. These diseases are characterized by dysfunction or degeneration of the cerebellum-the brain coordination center Patients with these conditions have serious difficulties walking, speaking and performing daily activities.
‘Ataxias are a largely neglected, debilitating set of conditions that have a serious impact on the quality and duration of life. Ataxion is excited to be working to bring the first targeted pan-ataxia treatments to this grossly underserved population,” said Joshua Resnick, MD, Venture Partner at Atlas Venture and Ataxion Co-Founder and CEO. ‘We are particularly pleased to partner with Biogen Idec on this programme. Biogen Idec’s commitment to neuroscience and therapeutic development for patients with severe neurological diseases is unparalleled in the industry. ”
Ataxion drugs being developed for genetic forms of ataxia may also have the potential to treat other forms of ataxia, such as those associated with degenerative neurological disorders, including Multiple Sclerosis and Huntington’s Disease.
As part of the Series A funding, Steven Holtzman, Biogen Idec, Executive Vice President Corporate Development, and Kevin Koch, Ph.D. D. D. Biogen Idec, Senior Vice President of Research and Development, will be joined by Dr. Resnick, Atlas Partner Jean-Francois Formela, MD, Atlas Venture Development Corporation Managing Director and Ataxion Co-Founder David Grayzel, MD, and Claus Braestrup, former CEO of Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ataxion
‘Our investment in Ataxion fits perfectly with our mission to bring innovative therapies to people with severe neurodegenerative diseases and few treatment options,’ said Steven Holtzman, Executive Vice President of Corporate Development at Biogen Idec. ‘Ataxion’s early ataxia research is compelling, and we look forward to working with them as this research progresses. ”
In addition to participating in the Series A investment, Biogen Idec is providing non-dilutionary R&D and other funding to Ataxion. Biogen Idec will have the option to acquire Ataxion to continue developing the program upon completion of the Phase 1 Multiple Ascending Dose (MAD) study on pre-negotiated terms, including pre-negotiated and milestone payments.
In July 2013, Ataxion acquired the ataxia program from the Danish biotechnology company Aniona, now renamed Saniona, the world’s leading ion-channel drug discovery company. Saniona is responsible for key program discovery activities under the direction of Ataxion Chief Scientific Officer Martin Jefson, Ph.D. D. D. , former Head of Research in Neuroscience at Pfizer
About the taxonomy
Ataxion is a discovery-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapies for rare, debilitating and underserved neurological diseases. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Ataxion was founded by Dr. Atlas Venture Seed Program in April 2013. Josh Resnick and Atlas Venture Development Corporation Managing Director and Board Member David Grayzel, MD
On the Atlas Venture
Atlas Venture is a leading early-stage venture capital firm that invests in technology and life science companies. Since its inception in 1980, Atlas has helped to build more than 350 companies in more than 16 countries. Atlas Venture currently invests in its ninth fund and manages over $2 billion in capital For more information, please visit: