– Targeting axonal degeneration and neuroinflammation, early hallmarks of several acute and chronic neurological diseases
– Financing syndicate led by The Column Group with Samsara BioCapital and Euclidean Capital
– Alpna Seth, PhD, appointed President and CEO
South San Francisco, Calif., July 29, 2020 (Business Wire) – Nura Bio Inc., a biopharma company created to discover and develop life-changing neuroprotective drugs, today announced its official launch. Alpna Seth, PhD, a leader in the global biotechnology industry, is President and Chief Executive Officer of Nura Bio. The Column Group led the company’s $73 million Series A round of financing as a syndicate together with Samsara BioCapital and Euclidean Capital.
Nura Bio seeks to alter the course of neurological disease by targeting the fundamental pathways underlying axon degeneration and neuroimmune regulation to preserve neuronal integrity. The company’s research and development strategy is currently centered on two approaches: prevention of neuronal loss to preserve neurological function; and restoring the function of the neuron-glia axis to improve the nervous system’s immune surveillance capacity in response to neurological injury. The company’s discovery engine and emerging multi-target pipeline spans these approaches and is well positioned to address a broad range of neurological diseases.
“The enormity of unmet need for people affected by neurodegenerative diseases is staggering,” said Dr. Seth. “I am excited to join Nura Bio’s exceptional team of experts and company builders in our urgent mission to prevent and treat neurological disease as never before. Nura Bio’s groundbreaking science, talented team, and experienced investor partners bring together the perfect balance to build a leading neuroscience company dedicated to transforming the lives of millions of people affected by neurological diseases.”
Nura Bio was conceived in 2018 by The Column Group and scientific founders Marc Freeman, PhD and Steven McKnight, PhD, with the early pipeline fueled by breakthroughs elucidating the molecular mechanism underlying Wallerian (axonal) degeneration, an early hallmark of neurological diseases. The company’s lead program is focused on the NAD hydrolase SARM1 that was first discovered as a potent, axon-death factor in Dr. Freeman’s lab.
“The Column Group is excited by the compelling scientific basis and potential of Nura Bio’s emerging neuroprotective drug pipeline to revolutionize the treatment of neurological diseases,” said Tim Kutzkey, PhD, founding member and Chair of Nura Bio’s Board of Directors. “We are fortunate to have Alpna at the helm, bringing proven experience in building and leading successful teams and businesses from the ground up across therapeutic areas and modalities. With Alpna’s leadership, Nura Bio’s exceptional team is pushing the boundaries of a new frontier in neuroscience, accelerating the progress of our discovery engine.”
Leadership & Board
Dr. Seth joined Nura Bio as Chief Executive Officer, President and Board Member in August 2019. As a seasoned executive and entrepreneur, she brings over 25 years of diverse biotech industry experience leading drug-development, commercialization, and business creation. Prior to joining Nura Bio, Dr. Seth was Chief Operating Officer of Vir Biotechnology. Dr. Seth served at Biogen for two decades in senior executive roles based in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Most recently she was Senior Vice President and Global Head of Biogen’s Biosimilars Business Unit, where she led the creation and launch of the business with nearly $400 million in annual revenues. Earlier, as Program Executive of Tecfidera – Biogen’s first oral multiple sclerosis drug – she successfully led the product franchise from pivotal trials to regulatory approvals and blockbuster commercial launches worldwide. Dr. Seth was also the founding Managing Director of Biogen Idec India and was a member of the Asia Pacific senior leadership team. She holds a PhD. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and conducted her postdoctoral research in Immunology and Structural Biology at Harvard University, both as a Fellow of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Seth is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. In addition to Nura Bio, she serves on the boards of Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ: SGEN) and Bio Techne (NASDAQ: TECH).
In addition to Dr. Seth, Nura Bio’s leadership includes:
- Sean Brown, PhD, Senior Director, Chemistry heading up small molecule chemistry drug discovery efforts for the preclinical portfolio
- David Hewitt, MD, Senior Vice President, Clinical Development, spearheading early clinical development efforts
- Shilpa Sambashivan, PhD, Vice President, Biology and founding team member, leading research strategy, target discovery, and biology for preclinical pipeline
The Nura Bio Board of Directors includes:
- Tim Kutzkey, PhD, Managing Partner, The Column Group (Chair)
- Cory S. Freedland, PhD, Principal, Samsara BioCapital
- Dave Goeddel, PhD, Managing Partner, The Column Group
- Mark A. Goldsmith, MD, PhD, Founding President, CEO and Chairman, Revolution Medicines
- Sanjay Keswani, MBBS, FRCP, Executive Vice President & CMO, Annexon Biosciences
- Alpna Seth, PhD, President & CEO, Nura Bio
About Nura Bio
At Nura Bio (previously known as Proneurotech Inc.), we envision a world where the diagnosis of a neurological disorder comes with the hope of a cure. Expanding on recent breakthroughs in crucial neurodegenerative pathways, we are positioned to deliver transformative neuroprotective therapies to prevent and protect against neuronal loss and related neuroimmune dysregulation. The company’s research and development strategy is currently centered on two approaches: prevention of neuronal loss to preserve neurological function; and restoring the function of the neuron-glia axis to improve the nervous system’s immune surveillance capacity in response to neurological injury. The company’s discovery engine and emerging multi-target pipeline spans these approaches and is well positioned to address a broad range of neurological diseases. Nura Bio’s lead program is the SARM1 inhibitor program. SARM1 has recently emerged as an axon-intrinsic metabolic sensor that is a pivotal driver of axonal degeneration and neuronal integrity. Axon degeneration is an early event in several neurological disorders, and halting it early has tremendous potential in the treatment of central, peripheral, and ocular neurological diseases.
For more information, visit www.nurabio.com.