M3 says that its drug not only treats symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but also modifies the disease itself to stop, and hopefully reverse, its effects.

Share story

Seattle-based M3 Biotechnology has raised $12 million from investors to start clinical trials for a drug that seeks to reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

The startup has licensed technology that’s been developed over more than a decade at Washington State University. M3 has been working for the past three years to develop the drug and find a way to move it beyond animal studies and into clinical trials with Alzheimer’s patients.

M3’s drug not only treats symptoms, said CEO Leen Kawas, it also modifies the disease itself to stop, and hopefully reverse, the effects of Alzheimer’s.

“In preclinical brain studies, we’ve shown re-creation of brain cells, enhanced elasticity and regrowth of the dying neurons,” Kawas said.

The treatment activates a switch in the brain to regrow neurons.

M3’s latest funding round brings its total raised to $14 million. The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, which was the first investor in the company, put in $1.4 million in the latest round to help M3 launch its clinical trial.

Its Phase I clinical trial, which will test the drug on people with Alzheimer’s, will begin in the third quarter of the year, Kawas said. The company’s 12-person team has seen promising results from its preclinical trials, she said, including brain enhancements in animals after treatment.

M3, housed within the University of Washington’s CoMotion space, also raised funds in the round from Dolby Family Ventures, local biotech leader Bruce Montgomery and other angel investors.