Autobahn Therapeutics Raises $76 Million To Develop Therapies For CNS Disorders

By Dan Anderson ● June 11, 2020
  • Autobahn Therapeutics announced it has completed a $76 million Series B fundraising co-led by ARCH Venture Partners and Cowen Healthcare Investments

Autobahn Therapeutics announced it is launching to create the next-generation of regenerative medicines to restore hope for people affected by CNS disorders. And the company also completed a $76 million Series B fundraising co-led by ARCH Venture Partners and Cowen Healthcare Investments with participation from BVF Partners L.P., Biogen, Bristol Myers Squibb, Pfizer Ventures, Invus, Section 32, Samsara BioCapital, and Alexandria Venture Investments.

The proceeds of the funding will be used to advance Autobahn’s lead program candidate called ABX-002, which is a thyroid hormone receptor beta agonist therapy for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) and adrenomyeloneuropathy (AMN), a rare genetic disorder, and a portfolio of transformational CNS programs leveraging the company’s brain-targeting chemistry platform.

“Autobahn is harnessing the regenerative power of the human body to treat both rare and prevalent CNS disorders. We are coupling our deep knowledge of thyroid hormone biology and remyelination with our brain-targeting chemistry platform to restore the brain to a healthier state,” said Kevin Finney, chairman and chief executive officer of Autobahn. “We stand well-positioned to advance our pipeline with funding from the highest quality investors and pharmaceutical leaders who share our mission of improving life health for people affected by these conditions.”

Autobahn’s scientific approach is based on the well-established role that thyroid hormone plays in the production of myelin, which is the protective sheath that forms around nerves. And the degeneration of myelin is associated with many CNS disorders, including MS.

How does Autobahn work? Autobahn is developing small molecule, thyroid hormone receptor beta agonists designed to stimulate remyelination and address the progressive nature of MS and other diseases that result from demyelination. And the company’s strategy leverages validated human biology to de-risk and accelerate its development programs, a brain-targeting chemistry platform to maximize exposure selectively in the brain, and biomarker-driven development to establish on-target activity and proof-of-mechanism early in development.

“We believe Autobahn has the insights and expertise to turn this world-class research into important medicines for patients. The work pioneered by Dr. Tom Scanlan of Oregon Health & Science University served as a strong base on which to add a highly talented team of researchers and clinical innovators to create Autobahn,” explained Kristina Burow, managing director with ARCH Venture Partners. “We are proud to be working alongside the company to harness the transformative potential of Autobahn’s remyelinating therapies.”

Autobahn has a team of experts in thyromimetics, drug discovery and development, clinical operations, and corporate and business development, including Kevin Finney (chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer), Keith Lenden (co-founder, president and chief operating officer), Brian Stearns, Ph.D. (chief scientific officer), Chan Beals, M.D., Ph.D. (senior vice president of translational medicine), Christine Maurer (senior vice president of development operations and program management), John Borkholder, J.D. (general counsel and senior vice president of administration) and Thomas Scanlan, Ph.D. (co-founder and senior advisor to Autobahn, and professor of Chemical Physiology and Biochemistry, Oregon Health & Science University).

“Autobahn is developing a differentiated portfolio of CNS therapies, backed by validated science and led by proven scientific and business leaders,” explained Tim Anderson, managing director of Cowen Healthcare Investments. “Investing in innovative life sciences companies is at the heart of Cowen Healthcare Investments, and we are excited to join the Autobahn team to help develop products that can fundamentally change the way people with CNS disorders are treated.”

The company has established a board of directors with significant experience in company formation and scientific innovation. And the directors include Kevin Finney (chairman and CEO of Autobahn), Kristina Burow (managing director with ARCH Venture Partners), Tim Anderson (managing director with Cowen Healthcare Investments), and Ben Cravatt, Ph.D., Gilula (Chair of Chemical Biology and professor in the Department of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute).

“Autobahn benefits from the winning combination of validated human biology supporting its therapeutic hypothesis, clever chemistry enabling tissue-selective CNS delivery of compounds and an exceptional team to drive it forward,” explained Dr. Cravatt. “I am highly confident in our potential to create the next generation of regenerative medicines for the brain.”