Cajal Neuroscience launches with $96 million to transform neurodegeneration drug discovery

Financing led by Column Group and Lux Capital will aim to to accelerate neurodegeneration drug discovery by enabling target discovery and validation at unprecedented scale.

Cajal Neuroscience, a biotechnology company integrating human genetics, functional genomics and advanced microscopy to discover novel targets and therapeutics for neurodegeneration, has launched with the completion of a $96 million Series A financing.

The financing was led by The Column Group and Lux Capital, with additional participation from Two Sigma Ventures, Evotec, Bristol Myers Squibb, Alexandria Venture Investments, Dolby Family Ventures and other investors.

Longevity.Technology: Seattle-based Cajal is committed to discovering novel therapeutics for neurodegeneration; by focusing on the mechanistic, spatial and temporal complexity of neurodegeneration, the biotech’s powerful platform is designed to unlock the complexity of disease at unprecedented scale, and integrates expertise in neuroscience, neuroanatomy and computational biology with state-of-the-art technologies for high-throughput functional validation.

“We’ve all seen the challenges that face drug discovery in neurodegeneration. Cajal was founded to meet those challenges head-on by convening some of the best minds in the field and integrating a suite of cutting-edge technologies to identify and advance therapies for neurodegeneration in a completely new way,” said Ignacio Muñoz-Sanjuán, PhD, CEO at Cajal.

“I truly believe our approach can revolutionize neurodegeneration drug discovery by understanding disease mechanisms with spatial and temporal resolution at unprecedented scale [1].”

Rob Hershberg, MD, PhE, Co-founder and Executive Chairman of the Board at Cajal, said: “We want to get to the ground truth of neurodegenerative diseases. Cajal was started from grassroots, bringing together an incredible team of scientists, advisors and investors who share the long-term vision of building foundational systems to explore new pathways and targets and making a difference for patients suffering from neurodegeneration [1].”

Inspired by the pioneering work of Santiago Ramón y Cajal, whose discoveries on the structural and functional organisation of the brain became the foundation of modern neuroscience, Cajal seeks to transform the field of neurodegeneration by revealing the complex and dynamic mechanisms driving disease.

Cajal’s platform combines state-of-the-art approaches and technologies, including integrative human genetics and multi-omics, highly multiplexed functional genomics and industrialised whole brain imaging. Through this approach, Cajal is systematically validating the thousands of targets implicated in diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and creating a comprehensive understanding of neurodegeneration that reveals how, where and when different mechanisms contribute to disease.

“The legendary neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal said that all outstanding work, in art as well as science, results from immense zeal applied to a great idea. That’s precisely why we raced to fund this team,” said Josh Wolfe, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Lux Capital.

“When you get the rare combination of the leading scientific minds in neuroscience teaming up to work with cutting-edge visualization, sequencing and computational techniques, and to apply a never-before taken approach to discovering targets and drugs for neurodegenerative disease, you don’t walk slowly toward it – you sprint for your life [1].”

Cajal’s leadership team includes world-class scientists and experienced biotechnology entrepreneurs who bring scientific rigor, drug development expertise and commitment to advancing therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. The new biotech’s scientific co-founders include leading neuroscientists that bring together disciplines across genetics, molecular and cellular biology, and functional neuroanatomy.


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