Clinical-stage biotechnology company Neumora Therapeutics which is integrating data science and neuroscience to develop new precision medicines for brain diseases announces its launch today and, with it, a $100 million equity investment from Amgen that will see the two companies collaborate to advance neuroscience discovery, development, and commercialization.
Under the terms of the collaboration Neumora will apply its proprietary precision neuroscience platform to insights generated by Amgen’s deCODE genetics and human data research capabilities. In conjunction with the equity investment Neumora has gained exclusive global rights to develop and commercialize Amgen programs targeting casein kinase 1 delta and glucocerebrosidase for neurodegenerative diseases.
“Our collaboration with Neumora leverages both our unique capabilities from deCODE and Neumora’s focus and expertise in brain diseases to discover and develop potentially best-in-class precision therapies,” said David M. Reese, M.D., executive vice president of Research and Development at Amgen in a press release. “Although Amgen is not currently engaged in neuroscience research and early development internally, this approach addresses our commitment to remain engaged in neuroscience through external collaborations.”
According to Neumora, the company was founded in response to the lack of targeted, effective medicines for brain diseases and the high failure rates associated with neuroscience drug development. Including the investment from Amgen, the company has raised $500 million to date, with a Series A investment round led by ARCH Venture Partners.
The difficulty in developing drugs for neurological conditions stems from their highly heterogenous nature and by the number and complexity of disease drivers. Currently, these diseases are still broadly defined as opposed to more precise definitions of the diseases informed by their genetic and mechanistic subgroups. The result has been heterogeneity of patients enrolled in clinical trials and subjective trial endpoints resulting in the lower likelihood of regulatory approval.
“We built Neumora to pioneer the future of precision medicines for brain diseases. Traditional neuroscience R&D is constrained by a ‘one-size-fits-all’ treatment approach, often leading to underwhelming efficacy, high placebo response and routine clinical trial failures. Patients deserve better,” said Kristina Burow, co-founder and director of Neumora and managing director at ARCH Venture Partners. “Neumora aims to overcome the historical challenges of neuroscience R&D by targeting enriched patient populations for improved probability of success and better patient outcomes.”
Neumora hopes to accomplish this via its proprietary data integration platform which can leverage multiple types of data across genomics, imaging, electroencephalogram (EEG), digital, and clinical domains to create its Data Biopsy Signatures that map the underlying disease mechanisms to Precision Phenotypes which identifies distinct patient subtypes. Using this information it will look to more precisely match patients to therapies targeting each patient’s disease subtype.
“Instead of the current broad classifications of brain diseases across a wide spectrum of generalized symptoms, Neumora’s approach is driven by an ability to develop and match the right therapeutics to the right patient populations,” said Morgan Sheng, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute. “This approach marks a major advancement in the field of neuroscience and has the potential to truly revolutionize the way we target brain diseases, similar to the way genetic sequencing and new tools have revolutionized the development of precision medicines for cancer over the past decade.”