Rare Disease Report

QurAlis Joins Forces with Biotech Investors to Find a Cure for ALS

APRIL 06, 2018
Krista Rossi
Yesterday, QurAlis Corporation—a private biotech company focused on developing precision solutions to cure Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)—announced that investors MP Healthcare Venture Management (MPH), Amgen Ventures, and Alexandria Venture Investments have joined the effort to find a cure for ALS.

ALS is a fast-progressing, paralytic condition, and patients usually have an average life expectancy of 3 years. Recently, it has been discovered that a spectrum of disorders with varying underlying mechanisms encompass the disease, and similarly to cancer, ALS has subtypes that need to be treated with precision therapies.

QurAlis was founded by Harvard professors and ALS and stem cell pioneers, Kevin Eggan, MD, and Clifford Woolf, MD, along with Jonathan Fleming, CEO of Q-State Biosciences, and QurAlis’ CEO, Dr Kasper Roet, who is very excited about the recent news.

“We are now proud to announce that three important corporate investors have joined the seed round of QurAlis. MP Healthcare Venture Management (MPH), a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation, the company that developed Radicava (edaravone), the only ALS treatment option in the United States approved by the FDA in the last 20 years.”1
“MPH is joined by Amgen Ventures, supported by a strong internal focus on ALS as a therapeutic area of interest at Amgen, and Alexandria Venture Investments, a long-standing biotech investor which has recognized the enormous potential of QurAlis. The participation of MPH, Amgen and Alexandria is an incredible validation of our strategy and brings us closer to bringing innovative precision medicine to ALS patients.”
QurAlis has 3 precision therapies that are currently in development and each is aimed at targeting a specific subtype of ALS: a drug to restore a dysfunctional cellular waste clearance system that progressively poisons neurons; a drug to treat overactive neurons and prevent cell death via excitotoxicity; and a transformative device to remove toxic proteins.

ALS patients and their families could be the recipients of an incredible impact with the success of any one of these 3 therapies. 

Renowned structural biologist and drug design expert, Manuel Navia, MD; rare disease specialist, Daniel Elbaum, MD chief scientific officer a scientific advisory board, comprised of leading ALS clinicians and scientists, Chris Shaw, MD (King’s College London), and Matthew Kiernan, MD (The University of Sydney), head QurAlis’ experienced management team, which is separate from the advisory board.

“The Amgen Ventures investment in QurAlis aligns with Amgen’s commitment to advancing novel neuroscience research to bring needed therapies to patients,” said John Dunlop, vice president of Neuroscience at Amgen. “We are delighted to further support QurAlis’ innovative technologies in their mission to help patients with this extremely debilitating disease.”
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References:
  1. “QurAlis Launches with Seed Funding from MPH, Amgen and Alexandria, United in the Fight to Cure ALS.” Business Wire. 5 Apr. 2018.


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