Link Medicine Ups Third Round to $45M, Taking Aim at Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Xconomy Boston — 

Link Medicine has wrapped up its Series C round at $45 million, $5 million more than the $40 million the developer of drugs for neurodegenerative diseases said it would raise in the financing in September 2008, says Michael Fitzgerald, the company’s financial chief.

The Cambridge, MA-based biotech company finished the venture round with a third closing of $20 million, according to an SEC filing. Link pulled in the investments from its existing backers, Fitzgerald says. Its previous investors include Clarus Ventures and SV Life Sciences, both of which are life sciences venture funds with offices in Boston and San Francisco. Based on previous reports, the company, founded in 2005, has raised a total of $61.5 million through three rounds of venture financing. Fitzgerald declined to confirm how much investors have put into the firm, however.

Link has been pursuing new ways to treat Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other devastating neurological diseases. In November 2009, the company began a Phase I human clinical trial to test the safety of its lead drug, LNK-754, in people with mild Alzheimer’s disease, according to a U.S. government website that lists clinical trials. The drug is an oral small molecule that aims to stymie production of misfolded proteins that build up in nerve cells and cause the cells to malfunction, according to Link, and it could be used to treat multiple neurodegenerative diseases.

“One of the primary reasons [for adding $5 million to third round] was to give the company more runway in developing our lead program, LNK-754,” Fitzgerald says. The startup (which has been quite secretive in the past) is gearing up to tell its story and provide an update on its lead drug later this year, he adds.

Link might have a good story to tell; its drugs are intended to strike at some of the root causes of neurodegenerative diseases, a step forward from existing products that only treat the symptoms of the diseases. Still, the 22-person company appears to have a long way to go in clinical trials before it can show that its drugs work as well as it hopes they do.