Funding supports trial of TT-P34 as potential treatment
Teitur Trophics eyes a Phase 1b clinical trial of its lead candidate
Teitur Trophics has raised €28 million (about $29.7 million) to advance its lead candidate, TT-P34, into a Phase 1b clinical trial as a possible treatment for Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
“There is a pressing need for new therapies for neurodegenerative diseases which have a detrimental impact on millions of people’s lives around the world, with serious implications for quality of life and life expectancy,” Simon Mølgaard, PhD, CEO at Teitur Trophics, said in a press release.
“The funding will allow us to take our first-in-class, lead drug candidate, TT-P34 from candidate selection into clinical development, while also advancing our novel pipeline of innovative peptides [protein fragments],” Mølgaard added.
Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the dysfunction and death of brain nerve cells that produce dopamine, a major brain chemical messenger. This leads to a range of motor symptoms, from tremors to slowness and stiffness of movements, and non-motor symptoms, including cognitive impairment, depression and sleeping problems.
Neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s is mainly driven by the accumulation of toxic clumps of the alpha-synuclein protein. These aggregates are thought to damage mitochondria (the cell’s powerhouses), and the resulting energy deficiency to contribute to the death of nerve cells, which require a lot of energy to function.
Lysosome dysfunction also has been implicated in the accumulation and aggregation of alpha-synuclein protein. Lysosomes are cell compartments that contain enzymes to break down unwanted cellular materials into building blocks that can be recycled.
Teitur’s lead candidate, TT-P34 was created through the company’s platform of cyclic peptides, or protein fragment with a ring-like structure, that have neuroprotective properties.
How TT-P34 works
The therapy, administered through under-the-skin injections, was developed from SorCS2, a receptor protein involved in protein sorting and transport within cells. Previous studies have shown that this protein has a role in nerve cell stress response, protecting nerve cells from damage and death, and its deficiency has been associated with several neurological conditions.
TT-P34 works by “targeting the three major hallmarks of neurodegeneration: mitochondrial failure, lysosomal dysfunction, and loss of pro-survival signaling,” the company stated in its press release.
According to the company, the cyclic peptide restores energy production, boosts the clearance of toxic protein clumps, and promotes nerve cell growth and survival, thereby showing potential to be a disease-modifying treatment for neurodegenerative disorders.
In preclinical studies, TT-P34 showed robust brain-specific effects in animal models of Parkinson’s, frontotemporal dementia, and Huntington’s disease, Teitur noted.
“The €28 million Series A investment further validates our vision for preserving neuronal function in the face of these devastating neurodegenerative disorders,” Mølgaard said.
A Series A financing round refers to the investment after a start-up company shows progress in building its business model and demonstrates the potential to grow and generate receipt. It often refers to the first round of venture money a company raises.
Teitur is a spinoff from Aarhus University, in Denmark, and was seeded by the BioInnovation Institute (BII) in 2020. A Novo Nordisk Foundation initiative, the BII is an international nonprofit hub for world-class life science research.
The Series A funding round was co-led by Sunstone Life Science Ventures, Teitur’s existing investor, and Sound Bioventures, a new investor, with the participation of other new investors: Industrifonden, Innovestor’s Life Science Fund, and P53 Invest.
“We are proud to support such an innovative Company that has the potential to make a meaningful impact against neurodegenerative diseases and improve the quality of life of patients, and we look forward to supporting the Company through its next stage of growth,” said Casper Breum, managing partner at Sound Bioventures.
Søren Lemonius, general partner at Sunstone Life Science Ventures, said “Our passion is to enable and empower therapeutic innovation that has the ability to improve patient outcomes and we believe Teitur’s cyclic peptides is yet another excellent example of the breakthrough science coming out of the Scandinavian biotech ecosystem.”
“This investor syndicate creates a very strong and committed shareholder base with a track record of supporting successful next generation companies,” Mølgaard said.