Cambridge, Massachusetts–based Cognito Therapeutics develops its neurotechnology to treat central nervous system (CNS) diseases. It designed its non-invasive neuromodulation device to deliver proprietary gamma frequency light and sound stimulation. The investigational device is intended to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
FoundersX Ventures led the funding round with participation from all existing investors. New investors Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), Starbloom Capital, IAG Capital and WS Investment Company (Wilson Sonsini’s venture arm) joined the round. Cognito Therapeutics said the Series B brings its total funds raised since inception to $93 million.
In addition to the financing, Cognito Therapeutics announced the appointment of two new board members. Dr. Rick Kuntz, a former Medtronic executive, and Helen Lang, FoundersX founder and managing partner, joined the board.
Cognito Therapeutics landed on our 2021 list of digital health startups you need to know.
Plans for the funds raised
Cognito Therapeutics said in a news release that it plans for the funding to advance the pivotal study of its neuromodulation device.
In a prior Phase 2 clinical trial, the device demonstrated a significant slowing in functional and cognitive decline in the treatment group. It also showed a significant decline in brain atrophy over six months.
To further demonstrate efficacy, the company is currently enrolling patients in its pivotal trial, called “HOPE.” The trial, evaluating the treatment for Alzheimer’s, spans about 50 centers in the U.S. Cognito Therapeutics targets a total enrollment of 500 patients.
“There is an urgent need to develop novel therapies that can safely delay the onset and progression of these neurodegenerative conditions,” said Brent Vaughan, Cognito Therapeutics CEO. “This funding will accelerate development of Cognito’s home-based wearable device which has the potential to be a novel, safe, disease-modifying therapeutic approach to treat neurodegenerative diseases, starting with Alzheimer’s.”
New board members at Cognito Therapeutics
Kuntz previously served as SVP and chief medical and scientific officer at Medtronic. He spent 17 years at the medtech giant, initially leading its neuromodulation business. He then moved into corporate technology and clinical research.
Before Medtronic, Kuntz founded and served as CSO of the Harvard Clinical Research Institute. Now known as the Baim institute, the university-based contract research organization coordinates NIH and industry clinical trials with the FDA.
Vaughan expects Kuntz’s experience to be “extremely helpful” to Cognito Therapeutics as it advances its technology.
“Abnormalities in the brain’s electrophysiology represent exciting novel targets for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases,” said Kuntz. “By broadening the therapeutic target from specific proteins to the underlying neuronal pathophysiology, Cognito’s proprietary approach has shown that it can fundamentally alter disease processes and potentially achieve disease modification unique from more traditional approaches. I look forward to working with the Cognito team to drive this technology forward for the benefit of patients worldwide.”
Liang added that the non-drug neuromodulation approach could allow Cognito to potentially become “a leader in this new paradigm.”
“Cognito is a pioneer at the unique intersection of biology and technology in using neuromodulation to potentially alter the trajectory of neurodegenerative diseases, and we’re thrilled to support the advancement of this pivotal study in Alzheimer’s,” Liang said.