• Syndesi Therapeutics to leverage UCB’s expertise in neurology drug discovery to develop potential therapeutics in cognitive disorders with a first-in-class mechanism
• Series A financing of €17 M from a syndicate of Belgium and international investors
The creation of Syndesi Therapeutics (‘Syndesi’) was announced as the result of a partnership between UCB and a syndicate of Belgium and international investors. The investor syndicate is led by Novo Seeds and Fountain Healthcare together with Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (JJDC), V-BIO Ventures, the Walloon Investment Fund (SRIW) and VIVES Louvain Technology Fund. Syndesi Therapeutics has exclusively licensed a first-in-class small molecule program from UCB and the series A investment totalling €17M will fund the clinical development of the lead compound up to early proof-of-concept in humans.
Syndesi Therapeutics is based in Belgium and will leverage UCB’s neurology expertise in modulating the synaptic vesicle protein SV2A. UCB’s Neuroscience researchers in Belgium have designed a unique class of novel SV2A modulators. Unlike levetiracetam and other types of SV2A modulators discovered and developed by UCB for epilepsy, the novel compounds are devoid of anti-epileptic properties but have demonstrated robust pro-cognitive properties in preclinical models. Cognitive impairment currently being outside UCB’s strategic scope, the decision was made to have the program further developed externally to leverage its full potential. The discovery of these novel pro-cognitive SV2A modulators at UCB has benefitted from prior support of the Walloon Region, and Syndesi will use the Series A investment to build upon that work and move the lead molecule into clinical development.
“UCB is the world leader in SV2A research, having discovered and developed two major antiepileptic drugs treating patients around the world. We are excited to see Syndesi develop our novel pro-cognitive SV2A modulators to create value for patients with cognitive impairment,” said Dhavalkumar Patel, UCB’s Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President. “The Belgian life science ecosystem is particularly vibrant and we realised that it was the right environment to promote this research as part of our biotech model approach.”
Jonathan Savidge, PhD CEO of Syndesi noted “Development of these small molecules that modulate the SV2A target in a distinct manner represents an intriguing new approach for the treatment of cognitive deficits since they specifically target synaptic dysfunction, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s Disease and other indications characterized by cognitive impairment. Syndesi benefits both from UCB’s research expertise and from an impressive syndicate of experienced investors and their respective networks.
“Cognitive impairment remains an area of significant unmet need for patients not only with Alzheimer’s Disease but also more broadly across a range of neurological disorders, and we are excited about the potential promise of this novel therapeutic approach,” says Morten Graugaard Døssing, Principal at Novo Seeds. “I am thrilled to be working with the company which is supported by scientists at UCB and able to leverage Janssen neuroscience expertise via a presence at the JLINX incubator, all in an effort to develop products that could one day make a meaningful difference for patients suffering from cognitive impairment.”