Parkinson’s mitochondria-targeting research nets $12.5M more funding

Lucy Therapeutics plans to submit IND applications in early 2025

Patricia Inácio, PhD avatar

by Patricia Inácio, PhD |

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Lucy Therapeutics‘ (LucyTx) overall funding haul has grown to $36 million with the addition of $12.5 million more to support the company’s mitochondrial platform to develop new therapies for Parkinson’s disease. 

The total funding will also buttress the development of Lucy’s therapeutic pipeline for Alzheimer’s disease and Rett syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental disorder marked by cognitive, emotional, sensory, and motor disturbances. Plans are underway to submit investigational new drug (IND) applications in early 2025, which would allow the company to start clinical trials, according to a press release.

“This latest funding will advance our work pioneering a new class of therapeutics designed to address mitochondrial dysfunction and provide potentially curative treatments for people suffering from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Rett syndrome,” said Amy Ripka, PhD, founder and CEO of LucyTx. Mitochondria are the cells’ powerhouses and are important for nerve cells. Mitochondrial dysfunction is common in neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s.

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LucyTx is developing small molecules that restore mitochondria function to normalize neuronal health in people with these diseases.

“To make meaningful progress in developing treatments for complex diseases, we need to embrace nontraditional methods. LucyTx is doing just that, identifying new drug targets based on a deep understanding of the chemical and biological interplay at work in disease, and ultimately linking neurodegenerative disease to dysfunctional mitochondria,” Ripka said.

Lucy’s pipeline includes two small molecules — LucyTx-1209 and LucyTx-1212 — which have been shown to improve mitochondrial function and reduce alpha-synuclein, a protein that forms toxic clumps in the brain of people with Parkinson’s disease.

The compounds were also deemed safe in cell and rodent models of the disease. The company is working to select the best candidate to bring into clinical testing.

The new round of funding was led by Engine Ventures and Safar Partners, along with new investors, including Bill Gates, Parkinson’s UK, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which provided a $2 million nondilutive grant.

“The LucyTx team is creating a cutting-edge platform to identify drug targets by understanding mitochondria’s impact. This platform is already enhancing their drug discovery programs,” said Mike Poole, LucyTx’s newest board member and a senior advisor to Gates Ventures.