Neuroglee Therapeutics Raises $2.3 Mn In Pre-Seed Funding Led By Eisai Funds raised will be used to advance digital therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases

By Prabhjeet Bhatla

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Singapore-based healthtech startup Neuroglee Therapeutics that builds evidence-based, prescription digital therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases, announced on Thursday that it has successfully raised $2.3 million in pre-seed funding. The round was led by Eisai Co. Ltd Kuldeep Singh Rajput, founder and chief executive officer, Biofourmis, also participated in the round.

The funding will be used to advance the product pipeline for their lead product NG-001, intended for the treatment and management of patients with early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

Neurodegenerative diseases affect millions of people around the world. As per 2015 estimates, one in 10 people aged 60 years and above may have dementia in Singapore. Some 4.6 million people—and growing—live with dementia in Japan. In the US, Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death in the country and 14 million Americans are expected to have it by 2050. Back in 2018, the overall global cost spent on dementia was already reported to be as high as $1 trillion; these costs are likely to rise further for Singapore, Japan, and the US as they have aging societies, which will see a corresponding increase in the number of patients with neurodegenerative diseases.

However, developing their cures remains a significant challenge for the field. There has been no new pharmacological therapy approved for Alzheimer's in the last 15 years. Although clinical studies of investigational drugs in the pipeline are currently underway, there remains an urgent need for adjunctive complementary therapies.

Neuroglee discovers designs and commercializes digital therapies to fill the unmet need for complementary therapies to manage neurodegenerative diseases that can run in parallel with pharmacotherapy. Combining best-in-class closed-loop cognitive intervention strategies and novel biomarkers, the company's prescription software can be used independently and/or in conjunction with pharmacotherapy for better patient management, creating a more holistic approach to treatment for neurodegenerative diseases.

"A neurodegenerative disease is a severely underserved market, yet also one that is constantly growing as our population continues to age. Through the power of software, we are able to combine our expertise in cognitive neuroscience, behavior modification and digital biomarkers into a digital form of treatment that augments conventional medication and bridges the gap between patient and clinician. We are excited to work with Eisai and leading experts in scaling digital health solutions to facilitate a better quality of life for patients and caregivers, as well as to pave the way for faster development of effective cures," said Aniket Singh Rajput, founder and chief executive officer, Neuroglee.

The firm's lead product, NG-001, is designed to manage patients with early-stage Alzheimer's by delivering software-based cognitive intervention at home. Using state-of-the-art artificial intelligence, NG-001 deploys engaging gamification techniques and cognitive tasks on a digital tablet. The solution constantly tracks a patient's cognitive function using digital biomarkers and dynamically personalizes tasks and interventions for the patient.

For example, the number and type of tasks and games offered can be adjusted based on the speed of the patient's finger movements and task completion time. It can also use images from the patient's past to evoke positive memories and emotions, which have been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce depression and anxiety when employed in tandem with other cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques.

Using NG-001, caregivers and clinicians can monitor patient adherence to prescribed medication and their response to treatment when they are at home. For caregivers, this reduces the burden of care on them by making them more accessible to the patient, allowing them to provide and follow up on care even when not physically present. For clinicians, this continuous, real-time insight at home enables more accurate assessments of both drug and digital therapeutic treatments during in-person visits instead of having to rely on half-yearly check-ups and incomplete patient testimonials.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for better care models for seniors living with neurodegenerative diseases. Neuroglee's digital therapeutics platform aims to set the benchmark for a new era of personalized, high quality, integrative care for people with dementia and those at risk," said Professor Murali Doraiswamy, co-founding scientific advisor, Neuroglee and a leading dementia innovator/researcher.

"Human health care, or the understanding that healthcare needs to put patients and their families first, have always been one of the cores of Eisai's philosophy. Neuroglee's solution exemplifies this philosophy as it prioritizes the wellbeing of both patients and caregivers, yet it also contributes to the greater scientific mission of finding a cure for these currently incurable diseases through facilitating data transparency. We are proud to support this cause and we are eager to work with Neuroglee to realize this vision," said Kazumasa Nagayama, vice president and chief strategy officer, Eisai.

The starup plans to begin clinical trials for NG-001 in early 2021. It also plans to open its US operations in Boston in 2021.

Prabhjeet Bhatla

Former Staff

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