Autism Gets a Boost: Seaside Therapeutics Raises $30M To Develop First Drugs That Might Work
Seaside Therapeutics, a stealthy biotech startup in Cambridge, MA, has raised $30 million to further develop research from MIT neuroscientist Mark Bear that has the potential to create the first drugs that treat the underlying neurological disorder at work in patients with Fragile X syndrome and autism.
Seaside raised the money from a private, family investment firm that wishes to remain anonymous, says CEO Randy Carpenter. The company, founded in 2005, has now raised a total of $66 million from the family, the National Institutes of Health, and disease foundations like Autism Speaks and the Fragile X Research Foundation, Carpenter says. It hasn’t raised venture capital, and it hasn’t needed any, he says.
“We’re thrilled,” Carpenter says. “The end game for us is not to sell the company for a profit. The end game for us is to develop effective new therapies.”
Autism has been surging in public awareness in recent years and is now estimated to affect one out of every 150 children in the U.S. Yet autism has stumped scientists for generations, because they don’t really know what causes it, or how to classify all the various symptoms like social isolation, obsessions like staring at ceiling fans, or having trouble with language. That’s made it hard for pharmaceutical and biotech companies to even know where to begin with strategies to develop new therapies. But that’s beginning to change, partly because of work done by Bear, a co-founder of Seaside, Carpenter says.
Carpenter and Bear collaborated together earlier this decade at Sention, a Providence, RI-based company that eventually went out of business. But Carpenter says Sention had a “skunk works” project on Fragile X and autism that eventually gave birth to Seaside. The newer company is built … Next Page »