Nitrome Raises $38M to Bring Potential Enzyme Treatment into Clinical Trials

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by Mary Chapman |

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Nitrome Biosciences has raised $38 million in Series A financing to advance its lead program toward clinical trials for Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other age-related disorders.

“This financing will enable Nitrome to advance our mission of impacting the lives of patients with neurodegenerative and other age-related diseases,” said Irene Griswold-Prenner, PhD, Nitrome founder and CEO, in a press release.

Nitrome’s therapies targeting Parkinson’s aim to inhibiting a newly identified enzyme the company calls synuclein nitrase. According to the company, this enzyme causes or speeds the nitration — a type of chemical modification caused by cellular stress — and buildup of alpha-synuclein, a PD hallmark. Nitrome hopes to evaluate in a pilot study whether blocking or impeding this enzyme might slow or halt Parkinson’s progression.

Aggregation of alpha-synuclein — the main component of PD Lewy bodies — is found in the brain as well as the peripheral autonomic nervous system, which ultimately impacts breathing and digestion.

A nitrated form of the protein can be detected in salivary gland tissue of Parkinson’s patients. Since nitrated alpha-synuclein is present in early disease stages, it has the potential to be a promising disease biomarker.

Nitrome is also seeking to expand application of its platform technology to other age-related diseases, like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

“Nitrome’s breakthrough science is paving the way for novel, disease-modifying therapies, said Henrijette Richter, PhD, a  managing partner of Sofinnova Partners and a new Nitrome board member. “Nitrome’s team is made up of highly respected neuroscientists accomplished in drug discovery. The company is well-positioned to potentially transform the lives of Parkinson’s patients and others who suffer from age-related diseases.”

The funding was co-led by Sofinnova and AbbVie Ventures, and included the Dementia Discovery Fund, Mission Bay Capital, and Alexandria Venture Investments.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research awarded Nitrome a Target Advancement grant of an undisclosed amount in June 2019 to help support further development of potential PD therapies.

Roughly 7 million to 10 million individuals globally have Parkinson’s disease, including some 1 million in the United States.

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