Link Medicine Raises $40 Million to Counter Neurodegenerative Disease

9/30/08Follow @wroush

Link Medicine, a secretive Cambridge, MA, startup that’s spent the last three years investigating new therapies for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), said today that it has completed a $40 million Series C venture round.

The investment comes from Clarus Ventures, a Cambridge- and San Francisco-based fund focused on life science companies, and SV Life Sciences, another biotech-oriented fund based in Boston, San Francisco, and London. It’s a significant jump over Link’s first two venture rounds, which together brought in $16.5 million.

The company’s drug discovery approach is focused around the work of its chief scientific officer, Harvard Medical School neurologist Peter Lansbury, who is developing ways to counter the buildup of misfolded proteins in neural tissue that seems to be a common factor in several neurodegenerative conditions. But as the Boston Globe reports today, the company’s first drug is actually a compound it’s in-licensing from an unnamed pharmaceutical company that unsuccessfully tested it against a different illness. The company says the funding round will help it move this compound from preclinical programs into human testing, which it hopes to begin next year.

Link’s CEO, Adam Rosenberg, told the Globe that the company’s ability to raise such a significant round of working capital is a sign that venture capital firms are still interested in life science startups with “novel science in areas of high unmet need.”

Nick Galakatos, managing director of Clarus Ventures, said in the company’s funding announcement that its approach is “a novel way to tackle Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. It is particularly attractive because it can be potentially used as a monotherapy, or as a complementary combination with other medicines.” But the company has said little about the compound it’s testing or its mechanism of action.

Wade Roush is Chief Correspondent and Editor At Large at Xconomy. You can subscribe to his Google Group or e-mail him at wroush@xconomy.com. Follow @wroush

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