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Wednesday 19 September 2018
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NY-Based Biotech Startup Magnolia Neurosciences Launches With $31 Million Investment

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A new biotech company based in New York is getting the chance to launch with $31 million from investors. According to Xcomony, Magnolia Neurosciences has received $31 million from investors to develop therapies for nervous system disorders.

The startup was co-founded by the Seattle-based life sciences investment firm Accelerator Life Science Partners and MD Anderson in Houston. Magnolia will mine the discoveries made at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Some of the top investors in Magnolia thus far include Arch Venture Partners, Eli Lilly, Alexandria Venture Investments, and AbbVie Ventures.

Chemists like those at Magnolia play a crucial role in drug discovery, a multi-billion dollar industry catered to finding new treatments and medications for patients. Yet, Accelerator Life Science Partners says it won’t yet say which of the startup’s primary disease targets will be.

Some of the most common areas of focus among neurodegenerative disorders include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

“Magnolia Neurosciences is focused on developing potent and highly selective neuroprotective therapies that have compelling preclinical pharmacologic profiles and for which clinical proof of concept can be obtained rapidly in order to address significant unmet patient needs,” said Jim Ray, the director of the Neurodegeneration Consortium.

Approximately 20 million people in the U.S. suffer from neurodegenerative diseases and neuronal injury. Accord to Accelerator’s press release on Magnolia’s launch, this number will only increase as the population ages.

Although Accelerator hasn’t pinpointed specific diseases that the startup will be focusing on, Magnolia and MD Anderson report they’ll directing their attention to a process called programmed cell death. Programmed cell death is a process where excess neurons are eliminated during embryonic development. This process, research shows, can become reactivated later in life in critical brain regions when patients suffer from Alzheimer’s and other diseases.

“Our hypothesis is that if we block this from happening, it won’t cure the disease, but it will make the brain resistant to it, slowing [disease] progression and preserving function,” said Ray.

Magnolia has thus far conducted animal studies on drugs that enable the blocking to take place. The side effects so far include improved or maintained neurological function and enhanced memory. The next step would be to conduct clinical trials, but the timing of the trials is still being discussed.

“Our new focus on neuroscience investing is designed to support entrepreneurs who are deciphering the molecular basis of neurologic disorders,” said Laszlo Kiss, the executive director of Worldwide Research and Development.