Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company developing a portfolio of rapid-acting and durable treatments for depression and other mental health disorders, today announced the closing of a $39 million Series B round of financing. The round was led by Prime Movers Lab with additional investment from Alumni Ventures, Palo Santo, Negev Capital, Route 66, JLS Fund, Satori Capital and Gron Ventures. The additional capital will be used, in part, to further advance Gilgamesh’s 2 lead programs, GM-1020 and GM-2505 through Phase 1/1b safety and efficacy studies.
GM-1020 is a novel, patented (composition of matter), orally active small molecule antagonist of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor with the potential to have rapid-acting antidepressant (RAAD) activity without adverse behavioral effects at therapeutic doses. GM-1020 is orally bioavailable and retains rapid and robust effects in preclinical models of depression while avoiding side effects typically associated with IV ketamine and IN esketamine. Together, these properties may make GM-1020 suitable for at-home use, reducing the burden of treatment and increasing compliance.
GM-2505 is a novel, patented (composition of matter), small molecule, short-acting 5-HT2A receptor agonist/5-HT releaser that is expected to have a rapid and durable antidepressant effect. GM-2505 is anticipated to produce dramatic changes in human consciousness, perception, emotion, and cognition. In addition, the 5-HT releaser component may add empathogenic features to the patient experience. GM-2505 was designed to have an ideal PK profile in humans, allowing for sufficient target engagement to provide RAAD effects without requiring a burdensome, extended-duration in-clinic experience, thereby significantly reducing the patient/therapist time. Consequently, given the limited number of trained therapists, Gilgamesh hopes to be able to treat many times more patients than longer-duration alternatives.
Gilgamesh recently presented preclinical data highlighting GM-1020 and GM-2505 at the 61st Annual Meeting of the ACNP (American College of Neuropsychopharmacology) in December 2022.
Gilgamesh is also advancing multiple discovery programs that will fuel its pipeline over the coming years. To enable this effort, Gilgamesh uses a platform of cutting-edge preclinical technologies to guide compound selection, including machine-learning analysis of animal behavior and high-resolution electrophysiology, through collaborations with leading academic laboratories (for more details refer to the recent article in Nature Biopharma Dealmakers).
To further bolster Gilgamesh’s discovery efforts, John Macor Ph.D. has joined as a Senior Adviser. Dr. Macor recently served as the Global Head of Integrated Drug Discovery at Sanofi and is presently Chief Scientific Officer at Sionna Therapeutics. He will leverage his decades of chemistry and discovery expertise, including in serotonin and NMDA receptor structure-activity relationships (SAR), to advance Gilgamesh’s pipeline of neuropsychiatric treatments. Dr. Macor is an inductee of the ACS Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame, and is a co-inventor of two marketed drugs (Relpax™ and Nurtec™ ODT).
“More than 280 million people suffer from depression around the world, yet the way we treat depression has remained stagnant for decades. Our mission is to fundamentally reshape the treatment of mental illness,” said CEO and co-founder Dr. Jonathan Sporn. “Despite a general dip in fundraising in the life sciences sector this year, companies with strong science and strategy, such as Gilgamesh, are still able to raise capital. We are excited to continue our partnership with Prime Movers Lab to bring our most promising treatments into phase 1 trials.”
“Gilgamesh has made significant strides with its trial candidates and built a world-class team,” said Prime Movers Lab General Partner and Gilgamesh Board Member Amy Kruse. “Gilgamesh is positioned at the forefront of an emerging revolution in the treatment of psychiatric disorders, with a pipeline of novel agents that advance the therapeutic effects of psychoactive substances.”
About Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals
Gilgamesh is a pioneering, mental health science-focused biotechnology company. We have a disciplined focus on developing innovative new chemical entities (NCEs) leveraging a unique combination of medicinal chemistry, intellectual property strategy, neuroscience & neurobiology, and drug development expertise. We are an experienced team, with proven success in biotech exits and inventions. For more information, visit: www.gilgameshpharmaceutical.com.
About Prime Movers Lab
Prime Movers Lab invests in breakthrough scientific startups founded by Prime Movers, the inventors who transform billions of lives. We invest in companies reinventing energy, transportation, infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture and human augmentation. Portfolio investments span in-space transportation, industrial solar heat, ag tech, brain upgrades, nano-structured materials, wafer slicing, prosthetics, 3D printing, mobility, longevity and AI. For more information, please visit https://www.primemoverslab.com.