With $58M seed round, Avalon-incubated start-up will also develop former Astellas antibody for other indications including psychosis
Incubated by Avalon and launched with $58 million, Arialys is preparing to start clinical studies of an antibody obtained from Astellas to treat neurological disorders caused by pathogenic autoantibodies in the CNS.
Avalon BioVentures’ Jay Lichter, who is president and CEO of Arialys Therapeutics Inc., told BioCentury that research over the past 10-15 years has clarified the link between autoantibodies in the brain and a rare form of encephalitis. Writer Susannah Cahalan described her experience with the disease, including misdiagnosis, in the 2012 bestseller Brain on Fire.
“Historically, people thought the CNS is immune-privileged, which means that there are no immune cells, no immune action, in the CNS. That’s just not true,” Lichter said. “There are dozens and dozens of papers in the past five years that show there are B cells, T cells and antibodies in the CNS doing things. A lot of things are good, but when things go awry, it causes disease.
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