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20 April, 2020 - 15:17 By Tony Quested

Brain disease boost as Cerevance clinches $45m Series B

Transatlantic drug discovery and development company Cerevance – focused on brain diseases – has closed a Series B round bringing in $45 million from new investors including GV (formerly Google Ventures), Bill Gates and Foresite Capital, as well as all of the company’s previous investors.

These include Takeda Ventures, Inc., the corporate venture arm of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd., the Dementia Discovery Fund and Lightstone Ventures. Cerevance is based in Boston US and at Cambridge Science Park in the UK.

The company will use the proceeds to continue identifying novel therapeutic targets for central nervous system diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

This will be achieved by transcriptionally and epigenetically profiling specific neuronal and glial cell populations in thousands of post-mortem human brain tissue samples and advancing a diverse portfolio of therapeutic programs against them.

David Schenkein, M.D., General Partner at GV, said: “Cerevance has a differentiated approach to neurotherapeutics and continues to apply its powerful NETSseq platform to central nervous system diseases.

“With exceptional science, a strong sense of urgency and a leadership team that has previously succeeded together in drug discovery, Cerevance is well-positioned to deliver life-changing therapeutics for patients with brain diseases.”

Brad Margus, chief executive officer of Cerevance, added: “It’s hard to imagine a more stellar group of investors supporting us. We look forward to drawing on their expertise in deep data analysis and therapeutic development as we mine our unique biological data sets to advance new, desperately needed therapies for brain diseases.”

Privately owned Cerevance is applying a new technology, called NETSseq, to reveal transcriptional and epigenetic differences between specific cell types in mature human brains. 

NETSseq profiles neuronal and glial cell populations at depths not possible with other approaches, generating unprecedented data sets and insights. The company has thus far partnered with 14 brain banks around the world to assemble a growing collection of more than 7,000 clinically annotated, human brain tissue samples from healthy and diseased donors spanning nine decades in age. 

By applying NETSseq to specific cell types critical to circuits disrupted by disease and comparing vulnerable and resilient cell populations, Cerevance’s scientists have begun identifying targets and advancing a pipeline of novel therapeutics that modulate them for CNS diseases.

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