ProJenX Announces Initial Closing of $15M Series A Financing and Appoints Rick Hartz to Board of Directors
NEW YORK, Nov 2, 2023 – ProJenX, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel, brain-penetrant therapies targeting biologically-defined pathways for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other debilitating brain diseases, today announced the initial closing of a $15 million Series A financing. Led by Medical Excellence Capital, which also led the company’s seed financing round and created ProJenX in collaboration with Project ALS and researchers at Columbia University, the Series A will fund the continued development of ProJenX’s lead compound, prosetin, for the treatment of ALS.
In addition, ProJenX announced the appointment of Rick Hartz to its board of directors. Rick is currently Senior Vice President, Global Pharma & Human Health Business Development at Merck & Co., Inc. Rick has more than 30 years of commercial, marketing, and business development leadership experience across multiple therapeutic areas. At Merck, he leads a global commercial team responsible for cardiovascular, respiratory, metabolic, infectious disease, hospital/specialty, immunology, and neuroscience. Previous positions at Merck include SVP for Global Oncology Partnerships, SVP US Managed Markets and Chief Marketing Officer, US Market. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Dickinson College and an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
“We are focused on accelerating the development of prosetin to meet the critical need for new treatments for people living with ALS,” said Stan Abel, the company’s president and CEO. “We are encouraged by the therapeutic window emerging from our phase 1 trial and ongoing nonclinical studies and are looking forward to advancing prosetin to people living with ALS in early 2024. We are also thrilled to welcome Rick to our board and know that he will add tremendous value given his extensive global commercial and business development experience at Merck.”
“I am excited to join the ProJenX Board and contribute to its mission to advance promising therapies for ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases,” added Mr. Hartz. “With an orphan drug designation, prosetin is poised to advance toward a global pivotal trial next year and I look forward to working with my fellow board members and the ProJenX team to help guide the growth of the company.”
Prosetin is a first-in-class, novel, selective, oral, brain-penetrant, mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase kinase (MAP4K) inhibitor. MAP4Ks were discovered as critical regulators of neuronal survival in a patient-specific, cell-based discovery platform developed by ProJenX co-founders at Columbia University, and prosetin was optimized for potency against MAP4Ks, efficacy in motor neuron rescue, and preferential distribution to the CNS. Prosetin is an investigational new drug and has not been approved by the FDA.
ProJenX is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel, brain-penetrant, targeted therapies to address untreatable brain diseases, with an initial focus on ALS. ProJenX was created out of a long-term research collaboration between Project ALS and researchers at Columbia University to rapidly develop and commercialize its lead therapy candidate, prosetin, for people living with ALS. At the heart of ProJenX’s approach is an innovative, patient-specific, cell-based drug discovery platform that can be leveraged for research and drug development for ALS and other debilitating brain diseases. For more information, visit projenx.com.