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Alector raises $133 million for its immune-targeting Alzheimer’s drugs



brainAP/Alastair Grant

  • Biotech startup Alector is getting ready to put its
    first batch of neurodegenerative drugs into humans after
    raising an additional $133 million. 
  • Alector is developing treatments that harness the
    body’s immune system to tackle conditions like Alzheimer’s, and
    other forms of dementia.
  • The plan is to get two drugs into clinical trials in
    the next few months, with a third starting in early

Alector, a startup that’s trying to harness the body’s
immune system to treat neurologic diseases like Alzheimer’s just
raised another $133 million to get its first batch of drugs into
human trials. 

The approach of using the body’s immune system to treat a
particular disease has so far proven successful in

of cancer

, where it’s known as immuno-oncology. It’s
led to 

remissions in some patients

, along with

kind approvals

. San Francisco-based Alector is hoping
to have similar success in building out the field of

Alector is looking for treatments that target the body’s
innate immune system, using the genetic markers associated with
neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s

It’s because of that genetic information that scientists have
come to better understand the link between the immune system and
Alzheimer’s. The hope is that by more broadly going for immune
system, the treatments might have a better shot at working than
more targeted approaches that have had some
setbacks in the past few years

Its three lead drugs, Alector said Wednesday, will include two
for Alzheimer’s, one of which will work to apply the brakes to
the immune system while the other will look to speed it up. The
third, a treatment for frontotemporal dementia, will act on a
genetic defect associated with the condition to reactivate the
immune system. 

Alector’s chief business officer Sabah Oney told Business Insider
that the funding will be used to “push those drugs into the
clinic” as well as grow the company’s pipeline. Two will enter
the clinic in the next few months, while a third will get started
in early 2019.

More than 18 organizations contributed to the fundraising round,
including Bill Maris’ Section 32,
Foresite Capital
, Polaris Partners, GV, and the Dementia
Discovery Fund. 

In October, Alector
had received a $225 million
endorsement from drugmaker AbbVie
that gave it the option to globally develop and
commercialize two of Alector’s drug targets.

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