CAMBRIDGE, Mass., November 15, 2018 – Cadent Therapeutics, a company focused on the development of breakthrough therapies to improve the lives of patients with movement and cognitive disorders, today announced that it has raised $40 million in a Series B financing. In addition, the company has appointed Bob (Ibrahim) Dagher, M.D., as Chief Medical Officer.
“In a short amount of time, Cadent has achieved several important milestones, and with this financing we are well positioned to continue to execute on our mission of improving the lives of people with neurological disorders,” said Michael Curtis, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Cadent Therapeutics. “We are excited to have advanced our lead program into clinical development for two progressive neurological conditions, and we are encouraged by the potential of our second program, which is in preclinical development for the treatment of schizophrenia. This progress plus the confidence from our investors is exciting, and we look forward to continuing this momentum into 2019.”
Cognitive and movement disorders affect millions of people, impacting their ability to think, speak, comprehend and move. Ion channels play a central role in the communication between neurons and in regulating the generation of neural signals. Cadent Therapeutics is developing novel allosteric modulators of ion channels to improve neuronal firing regularity. This first-of-its-kind approach has the potential to restore neuronal control and benefit patients with movement and cognitive disorders.
Cadent Therapeutics’ initial development programs include:
- Its lead program, CAD-1883, an SK (small conductance calcium sensitive potassium channel) positive allosteric modulator (PAM), is being investigated for the treatment of essential tremor (ET) and spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA). SK channels are ion channels which regulate the amount of potassium that enters a cell. In preclinical disease models, CAD-1883 has demonstrated the ability to regulate neuronal firing, improve motor control and reduce tremor. CAD-1883 is currently in a Phase 1 dose escalation trial and has been well-tolerated at all doses to date.
- ET is a neurological disorder characterized by uncontrollable shaking or tremor in different parts of the body, including the head, arms, hands, neck and chin. It is among the most common movement disorders, affecting 10 million people in the United States alone, though there have been no improvements in the standard of care in more than 40 years.
- SCA is a genetic, degenerative neurological condition that affects approximately 6,000 people in the United States. Patients are readily identified through genetic testing and most often carry genetic abnormalities called “poly-Q expansions,” similar to those found in patients with Huntington’s disease. The disease is progressive and results in ongoing damage to the cerebellum, the region of the brain that regulates motor control and balance.
- Cadent’s second program candidate is in preclinical development to address NMDAr (N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor) hypofunction in people with schizophrenia.
- Proper functioning of NMDAr in the brain is critical for learning, memory and the ability to form new neuronal connections (neuroplasticity). In people with schizophrenia, NMDAr dysfunction is a significant contributor to their cognitive impairment. This program is designed to positively modulate the NMDAr, reversing NMDAr hypofunction and restoring cognitive function. In preclinical studies, treatment has demonstrated the ability to restore auditory novelty detection in a model of NMDAr hypofunction.
In addition to these programs, Cadent has entered into an exclusive license and collaboration agreement with Novartis to develop a medicine that modulates NMDA receptors for the treatment of people with treatment resistant depression.
Industry veteran Bob Dagher, M.D., joins experienced team
“We are thrilled to welcome Bob to the team, as he brings a blend of clinical and drug development skills that are critical to the continued success of Cadent,” said Dr. Curtis.
Dr. Bob Dagher brings to Cadent nearly 20 years of experience as a pharmaceutical executive and drug development physician with a breadth of knowledge and passion for developing novel treatments for neuroscience indications. Most recently, he served as Senior Medical Director for clinical development services in neuroscience at Covance. Prior to that, he served as Vice President and Head of Medical Affairs at Dyax. Previously, he served in roles of increasing responsibility at Sanofi-Genzyme and GlaxoSmithKline. Throughout his previous tenures, Dr. Dagher oversaw the execution of a number of clinical development programs in several therapeutic areas in neuroscience and rare diseases. He earned his medical degree through the combined program of Bordeaux and St. Joseph Universities and completed his residency in psychiatry at Boston University and obtained board certification of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
“I’m excited to join Cadent at this time of important growth and evolution for the company,” said Dr. Dagher. “Cadent’s innovative approach to developing treatments for CNS diseases is extremely compelling and has led to the rapid advancement of several promising medicines to treat a range of serious diseases. I look forward to contributing to Cadent’s experienced team, advisors and investors in pursuing the company’s vision of bringing new medicines to the millions of patients who need new and better treatment options.”
Series B financing advances programs into clinical development and broadens Board of Directors
This financing was led by Cowen Healthcare Investments and Atlas Venture, with participation from Qiming Venture Partners, Access Industries, Clal Biotechnology Industries and Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research.
“Cadent’s unique approach to drug development could address a number of challenging neurological conditions for which treatments are limited or non-existent. We are excited to expand our support for the company,” said Peter Barrett, Ph.D., Partner at Atlas Venture and Chairman of the Board. “The team has made tremendous progress since our initial investment, and we are confident in their ability to continue this successful trajectory. We welcome Tim Anderson (Cowen), Mark McDade (Qiming) and Paul Wotton, Ph.D. (CBI/Access) to the Board of Directors and look forward to working with them as we continue to build the company and advance our programs further in clinical development.”