Seaside Therapeutics Secures $30M to Fight Autism

Seaside Therapeutics has received $30 million in funding from a private, unnamed family investment firm committed to finding treatments for autism and Fragile X Syndrome.  The money will be used to fund the development drug candidates for these disorders. With the new financing, Seaside has raised $66 million to date.

Seaside CEO Randall L. Carpenter told Fierce Biotech that the company’s medications may allow patients to speak, learn normally, and interact more with the world around them. Fragile X Syndrome is a genetic condition that is a common known cause of the developmental disorder autism. According to the Mayo Clinic, an estimated three to six children out of every 1,000 in the U.S. are autistic.  The only approved treatment for autism is the antipsychotic risperidone.

Seaside has two main drug candidates in development. STX209, which inhibits the excessive protein synthesis associated with Fragile X, is undergoing Phase II clinical trials for both autism and Fragile X.  A second trial for teenagers with autism spectrum disorders began in March. The Cambridge, Mass.-based company intends to expand the trial to include children as young as 6 years old. ST107, which was licensed from Merck & Company, inhibits a molecular pathway believed to cause Fragile X symptoms. Seaside plans to begin a Phase I clinical trial in healthy volunteers next month.

Another company doing work in this area is Cortex Pharmaceuticals. Cortex plans to commercialize a novel technology called AMPAKINE compounds, which have been shown to enhance memory and cognitive function in humans. These compounds may be used to treat autism and Fragile X Syndrome.

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