3 Biotech Investors Join QurAlis’ Efforts to Cure ALS

José Lopes, PhD avatar

by José Lopes, PhD |

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Biotech investors MP Healthcare Venture Management (MPH), Amgen Ventures, and Alexandria Venture Investments have joined efforts by the new private biotech company QurAlis to search for a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Research has shown that ALS is a spectrum of disorders with diverse underlying mechanisms. Similar to cancer, each of these disease subtypes requires precision therapies, QurAlis noted in a news release. Therefore, the company is developing potential treatments for three different forms of ALS. Current research focuses on advancing a device to remove toxic proteins, a medicine to target overactive neurons and prevent their death, and a therapy to restore a waste clearance system in cells.

In 2017, QurAlis was one of the winners of the Amgen Golden Tickets for innovative bioscience projects. Golden Ticket winners receive one year of bench space for one scientist and mentoring from Amgen’s scientists.

“We are now proud to announce that three important corporate investors have joined the seed round of QurAlis,” said Kasper Roet, PhD, QurAlis’ CEO. Roet highlighted MPH’s role in the development of Radicava, Amgen’s ALS treatment, and Alexandria’s recognition of QurAlis’ potential.

“The participation of MPH, Amgen and Alexandria is an incredible validation of our strategy and brings us closer to bringing innovative precision medicine to ALS patients,” he added.

MPH is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma, the developer of Radicava (edaravone), the only ALS treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 22 years.

In addition to Roet, QurAlis was founded by Harvard professors and ALS and stem cell experts, together with Jonathan Fleming, president and CEO of Q-State Biosciences.

QurAlis’ management team includes drug design and rare disease experts, while its scientific advisory board is composed of leading ALS clinicians and scientists.

The company’s clinical research programs are designed to quickly transition from the discovery of molecular targets to the development of medicines, biomarkers, clinical trials, and regulatory and intellectual property strategies for registration.

“All of our work is targeted to the finish line, to treating ALS patients,” Roet said.

John Dunlop, vice president of neuroscience at Amgen, said, “The Amgen Ventures investment in QurAlis aligns with Amgen’s commitment to advancing novel neuroscience research to bring needed therapies to patients.”

“We are delighted to further support QurAlis’ innovative technologies in their mission to help patients with this extremely debilitating disease,” he added.