BioGeneration Ventures ("BGV"), a leading early-stage VC in European biopharma today announces that it has co-led, a €10 million Seed investment in FundaMental Pharma ("FundaMental"), a preclinical neuroscience company spun out of Heidelberg University with Thuja Capital. BGV invested from its Fund IV and following the financing, Dr Keno Gutierrez, Partner at BGV, has been appointed Chair of the Board of FundaMental.
FundaMental is built on the pioneering research of Professor Hilmar Bading and Dr. Jing Yan. This research, published in Science (1), identified first-in-class small molecule inhibitors for treatment of a range of neurodegenerative diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Huntington’s Disease. FundaMental’s novel approach relies on separating the normal neuroprotective effect of synaptic glutamate from its neurotoxic extra-synaptic actions which are eliminated by the inhibitors.
Dr Keno Gutierrez, Partner at BGV and Chair of FundaMental Board of Directors commented: "FundaMental’s novel therapeutics provide new hope to patients of ALS, Huntington’s disease and spinocerebellar ataxia 3. These remain devastating diseases that have an immense impact on the quality of patients’ lives. We are excited to invest and support the FundaMental team as they endeavour to make these molecules ready for the clinic."
Dr. Thomas Schulze, CEO and co-founder of FundaMental emphasized: "I am convinced that the successful development of FundaMental’s small molecule inhibitors will mark a milestone in neuropharmacology and possibly beyond. It has been a privilege to have worked with Professor Bading’s team since 2010 and to have put together such a strong leadership team. Having found visionary investors whose aims are aligned with the founder’s goals of stopping neurodegeneration, this vision can now become reality after many years of dedication and persistence."
Professor Hilmar Bading, Director of the Department of Neurobiology and the Interdisciplinary Center for Neurosciences at Heidelberg University and Co-Founder of FundaMental added: "It is probably no exaggeration to call the discovery of the new therapeutic principle of ‘inhibition of an extra-synaptic glutamate-activated death signalling complex a breakthrough in neuroscience. These inhibitors have the potential to revolutionize therapies for currently untreatable neurodegenerative diseases, and offer hope to many affected and suffering patients."
In conjunction with the financing, FundaMental also announced several key senior management appointments and the Board of Directors of the company. Dr. Gabriele Hecker-Barth has joined as Chief Medical Officer and Dr. Jing Yan as Senior Director of Research. Dr. Keno Gutierrez of BGV and Dr. Michel Briejer of Thuja Capital, Professor Hilmar Bading and Dr. Thomas Schulze have been appointed to the company’s Board of Directors.