Alector Snags $133M to Activate Immune Cells Against Neurodegeneration

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faulty versions of a watchdog receptor that detects dangerous molecular trash and triggers the microglia to get rid of it through a process called phagocytosis. The receptor, Trem2, sits on the cell surface of the microglia, and AL002 binds to it.

AL003 also binds to a cell surface receptor on microglia, but its purpose is to put that receptor, Siglce 3, out of business. That’s because Siglce 3, when it gets the right signal, inhibits the ability of the microglia to dispose of the accumulated garbage that can damage the brain. AL003 is designed to block the signal to the Siglce 3 receptor, freeing the microglia for clean-up duty.

As with AL001, there are diagnostic tests that identify people who suffer from neurodegeneration due to the targets of either AL002 and AL003, says Alector CEO Arnon Rosenthal.

All three of Alector’s drugs, if approved as therapies, would be administered through intravenous injections, and would be taken throughout the lives of patients, Paul says.

Besides GV, investors in the Series E round included, AbbVie Ventures; MRL Ventures, which is the venture arm of pharmaceutical giant Merck (NYSE: MRK);  Amgen Ventures; Deerfield Management; Federated Kaufmann Fund; Section 32; Euclidean Capital; Foresite Capital; Lilly Asia Ventures; New Leaf Venture Partners; Perceptive Advisors; Casdin Capital; Polaris Partners; OrbiMed; the Dementia Discovery Fund; and Mission Bay Capital. Alector declined to disclose the valuation agreed on by the investors.  The company had last raised $29.5 million in a Series D financing round in early 2016.

Alector made its fundraising announcement during the big Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Chicago this week.

Nerve cell Image credit: Sebastian-Kaulitzki, Depositphotos

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