LoQus23 Therapeutics raises £7m in seed round to propel work on Huntington’s disease treatments
Oral small molecule specialist LoQus23 Therapeutics has successfully closed its £7million extended seed round to drive forward its work on new treatments for Huntington’s disease.
LoQus23 is based at Building 522 on Babraham Research Campus. It was founded in 2019 with an initial £4.5m seed investment by the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF). The company is discovering small molecule therapies that target aberrant DNA mismatch repair (MMR) to treat Huntington’s and other triplet repeat diseases.
Triplet repeat diseases (TRDs) are caused by abnormal trinucleotide repeat expansions, resulting in rare genetic disorders that primarily affect the nervous system. Studies show that clinical disease measures such as age of onset and rate of progression are critically modified by genetic variants that increase MMR pathway activity. Aberrant activity of the MMR pathway leads to further expansions of trinucleotide repeats in the DNA sequence, which translates into more toxicity in the neurones of vulnerable brain regions, accelerating the rate of neurodegeneration.
LoQus23’s differentiated, structure-based approach targets proteins involved in MMR with small molecule drugs to stop DNA instability and slow neurodegeneration in Huntington’s disease, myotonic dystrophy type 1 and other TRDs.
Novartis Venture Fund (NVF) joined DDF for the new round and Florian Muellershausen, managing director at NVF, joins LoQus23’s board.
Christian Jung, partner at the Dementia Discovery Fund and board director at LoQus23, said: “Discovering oral drugs that are effective against aberrant DNA mismatch repair could significantly improve the lives of patients with devastating genetic diseases like Huntington’s, and it’s great to see that both DDF and NVF have recognised the same potential in the company, which has rapidly become one of the frontrunners in the field of disease-modifying drugs in this TRD space.”