New funding: Eliem Therapeutics, a new Seattle biotech startup led by former Juno Therapeutics exec Bob Azelby, raised $80 million to develop clinically-validated therapies for pain and depression.
The pipeline: Founded in 2019, the company has two lead drug candidates in development: ETX-810 for chronic pain and ETX-155 for major depressive disorder, hormone-related mood disorders, and focal onset seizures.
ETX-810 is described as an investigational non-opioid that uses the palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) pathway to influence neuroinflammation and pain signaling. ETX-155 is an neuroactive steroid that acts as a GABAA positive allosteric modulator (PAM), which can treat seizures, anxiety, and more.
Leadership: Azelby is Eliem’s president and CEO. He was previously president and CEO of Seattle biotech firm Alder BioPharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Lundbeck for $1.95 billion in 2019. Azelby was also chief commercial officer at Seattle-based Juno, which was acquired by Celgene for $9 billion in 2018.
The company’s founders include Andrew Levin, managing director at RA Capital and chairman at Eliem, and Valerie Morisset, chief scientific officer who was previously an exec at Convergence Pharmaceuticals.
Investors: RA Capital Management, Access Biotechnology, and Intermediate Capital Group are among the company’s investors.
“With an exceptionally strong and experienced leadership team, and promising preclinical and clinical data, the company has a real opportunity to transform clinically validated mechanisms of action into ‘best-in-class’ medicines,” Levin said in a statement.
What’s next: The 18-person company expects to grow its headcount from to 26 by the end of this year. It has offices in Seattle and Cambridge.