Dolby Family Ventures Invests in QurAlis Corporation
Posted on 03/10/2023
On March 9, 2023, QurAlis Corporation, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing precision medicines for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neurodegenerative diseases with genetically validated targets, announced it has closed an oversubscribed US$ 88 million Series B financing. This is bringing the total funds raised to US$ 143.5 million. The financing was led by EQT Life Sciences, investing from the LSP Dementia Fund, Sanofi Ventures, and Zaventen, Belgium-based Droia Ventures, with participation from the ALS Investment Fund and existing investors LS Polaris Innovation Fund, Mission BioCapital, INKEF Capital B.V., Dementia Discovery Fund, Amgen Ventures (Amgen’s corporate venture capital fund), MP Healthcare Venture Management, Mitsui Global Investment, Dolby Family Ventures, Mission Bay Capital, and Sanford Biosciences. QurAlis Corporation is based in Cambridge, MA.
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. ALS causes the death of motor neurons, which are responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movements, leading to muscle weakness, stiffness, and eventually, paralysis. The disease is named after Lou Gehrig, a famous U.S. baseball player who was diagnosed with ALS in the 1930s.
The proceeds from the financing will fund clinical development of QRL-201 and QRL-101, QurAlis Corporation’s product candidates in ALS. In addition, the financing will support ongoing and planned research, as well as the advancement of QurAlis’ pipeline with therapeutic candidates that target specific components of ALS and genetically related frontotemporal dementia (FTD) pathology and defined ALS patient populations based on both disease-causing genetic mutation and clinical biomarkers. As part of the Series B financing, Cillian King, Ph.D., managing director at EQT Life Sciences, and Laia Crespo, Ph.D., partner at Sanofi Ventures, will join QurAlis’ board of directors.
QRL-201 is a therapeutic product candidate aiming to restore STMN2 expression in ALS patients. STMN2 is a protein important for neural repair and axonal stability, the expression of which is significantly decreased in nearly all ALS patients. QRL-201 rescues STMN2 loss of function in QurAlis ALS patient-derived motor neuron disease models in the presence of TDP-43 pathology. QRL-201 recently entered the clinic in the first-ever clinical trial to evaluate a therapy that rescues STMN2 in people with ALS (ANQUR; NCT05633459). QRL-201 is the second program in QurAlis’ pipeline to enter the clinic recently. In December 2022, QurAlis announced the company initiated dosing of QRL-101 in a first-in-human Phase 1 clinical trial (NCT05667779). QRL-101 is a first-in-class selective Kv7.2/7.3 ion channel opener for the treatment of hyperexcitability-induced disease progression in ALS.