Cambridge-Based QurAlis Raises $5.5 Million To Develop Therapeutics For Neurological Diseases

By Dan Anderson ● November 20, 2018

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech company QurAlis announced that it has raised $5.5 million to develop therapeutics for neurological diseases.

QurAlis is a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech company that is developing precision therapeutics for ALS and other neurological diseases. The company also recently announced a seed extension bringing the total to $5.5 million. Plus QurAlis also announced that it won a Pfizer-sponsored Golden Ticket and is now a resident company of Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s JLABS.

With the funding and additional support, QurAlis plans to build on its preclinical research in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) toward the clinic. For this round of funding, BioInnovation Capital and Viva Biotech Limited is joining existing biotech investors including MP Healthcare Venture Management (MPH) and Amgen Ventures. In conjunction with the funding round Jeffrey Moore (MPH President) and Johannes Fruehauf, M.D., Ph.D. (BioInnovation Capital general partner) are joining QurAlis’ Board of Directors.

“ALS, the most common motor neuron disease, is not a single disease but a spectrum of disorders with varying underlying mechanisms. Thanks to the progress in human genetics and mechanistic understanding of the disease, we now know of over 25 genes that are related to ALS, with many of them also related to the formation of FTD,” said QurAlis CEO Kasper Roet, Ph.D. “Our focus at QurAlis is to develop targeted treatments for the different populations that make up ALS and FTD patients. Our proprietary technology and patient-derived cells, in combination with our team’s expertise in medicinal chemistry and structure-based drug design, enable us to progress quickly toward clinic-ready drug candidates. With the remarkable support we’ve been receiving from our investors and pharma partners, we are on the right path to bring these drugs to patients who desperately need them.”

And Pfizer’s Kendall Square Site Lead Eileen Elliott said that QurAlis stood out for its “overall vision clarity, quality of the science and the passion and personal meaning behind their research.” This is QurAlis’ second win for the Pfizer-sponsored Golden Ticket after receiving the first LabCentral Golden Ticket award in a competition that was sponsored by Amgen in 2017. With the Golden Ticket, QurAlis will gain equipped and supported lab space for biomedical research in LabCentral in addition to programming and networking opportunities. The Golden Ticket also provides a spot on a priority waitlist for residence and a voucher for prepaid rent for a year.

“ALS is a devastating disease and it strikes all too often. Today, when a young, seemingly healthy person receives an ALS diagnosis — he or she will have a predicted life expectancy of only about three years. My partners and I have followed QurAlis’ progress closely during its time at LabCentral. We believe their novel approach has the potential to change the trajectory of the disease, just as the antiviral therapies did for HIV in the late 1990s; we are excited to provide our support and expertise to help propel the company forward,” added Dr. Fruehauf — who is also cofounder and president of LabCentral.