Novo Seeds and Almi Invest are to jointly invest up to 6,3 million SEK in rare disease start-up Merozyne Therapeutics dependent on pre-agreed milestones.
Merozyne Therapeutics aims to develop a small molecule inhibitor for the treatment of congenital muscular dystrophy (MDC1A). Currently there is no cure for MDC1A, which is caused by an absence of the Laminin protein. Most patients with MDC1A never learn to walk and may also have breathing difficulties. About 30 % do not reach adolescence. Merozyne’s approach is based on world-leading research by Professor Madeleine Durbeei Hjalt at Lund University in autophagy, a key biological process whose discovery was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine this year.
“We are delighted that Novo Seeds and Almi Invest have chosen to invest in Merozyne, which demonstrates the quality of the research conducted at the Lund University and by Merozyne. The investment enables Merozyne to continue and intensify its development program to find a cure for MDC1A,” comments Eskil Söderlind, CEO, Merozyne Therapeutics.
“I am proud to see this branch of my pre-clinical research reach a level of commercial development. Animal work has indicated that elevated autophagy levels are a central component of the disease and a potential target. This is a very promising first step towards a cure for MDC1A. It is most valuable to see Novo Seeds and Almi Invest making an investment in Merozyne,” adds Durbeej Hjalt, CSO, Merozyne Therapeutics.
“Congenital muscular dystrophy is a chronic debilitating orphan neuromuscular disease for which there is currently no cure. Novo Seeds is pleased to fund the further development of a potential novel disease modifying treatment based on the scientific discoveries made in the lab of Professor Madeleine Durbeej Hjalt,” says Morten Graugaard Døssing, Investment Director at Novo Seeds.
“Merozyne has a unique opportunity to develop a novel treatment of a disease with a big medical need,” says Per Antonsson, Investment Manager at Almi Invest. “We are very pleased to fund this project together with Novo Seeds and we see major potential for the company.”
The company will be based in the established life science hub of Medicon Village in Lund, Southern Sweden.